The “fiesta de quince años” is a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday. The girl celebrating her 15th birthday is a “quinceañera”. This birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. Historically, in the years prior to their 15th birthdays, girls were taught cooking, weaving, and about childbearing by the elder women in their communities in preparation for their future roles as wives. In Cuban societies, girls were considered ready for marriage once they turned 15. In the 20th century, the quinceañera received certain privileges associated with womanhood: permission to attend adult parties, pluck her eyebrows and shave her legs, wear makeup, jewelry and high heels. When this tradition originated, the quinceañera was a small party to celebrate the transition. Friends and family gathered in order to give the girl a chance to mingle with young men.
Cuban parents often sacrifice their entire savings to celebrate their daughter’s fifteen birthday. Much of the budget goes to the photographer who specializes in “Quince” – photography. Cuban photographers can not take pictures of what they want, because the state censorship also supervises them. So many have specialized in “Quince-” or wedding photography, to be able to go at least a little bit of their passion “photography“.
You can visit the “Quinceañera” at the LEICA gallery Nuremberg: