Sweet sixteen (birthday)

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A sweet sixteen is a coming of age party celebrating a girl's sixteenth birthday in North America, primarily in the United States and Canada. The term "sweet" is indicative of the innocence and virginity of the girl before she becomes a woman.

Types of sweet sixteen party[edit]

Sweet sixteens may be extremely formal, casual, or semi-formal; they can range from modest parties at home with close family and friends to large affairs with a hired DJ, makeup and hair stylists, yachts and hotel ballrooms.

Traditions[edit]

Tiara ceremony[edit]

This ceremony is similar to the shoe ceremony, except the mother approaches with a tiara instead of shoes, and she does it instead of a community elder. She places it on her daughter's head to symbolize her becoming a woman. Sometimes this is combined with the shoe ceremony, so that two people approach the birthday girl, one with a pillow with high heels, and the other with a pillow with a tiara. But if the celebration is informal then there is no tiara ceremony.

Counterparts in other cultures[edit]

Latin American cultures[edit]

Many Latin American cultures celebrate a girl's fifteenth birthday with a fiesta de quince. In Brazil, these events are called Baile de debutantes (as well as in other Latin American countries).

Christianity[edit]

In many Christian denominations, both girls and boys reach the age spiritual maturity at around the age of 13 or 14, with the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Jewish culture[edit]

In Conservative and Orthodox Judaism, girls reach the age of spiritual maturity at the age of 12, celebrated with a bat mitzvah, and for boys at the age of 13, with a bar mitzvah. In Reform Judaism both boys and girls have a ceremony when they are 13 years old. These are important dates in the Jewish culture, because following these ceremonies, bar or bat mitzvah, the young person is considered a young adult.

Asian culture[edit]

Philippines

When young Filipino girls turn 18 they have a Début. There are 18 roses given by 18 male friends; the father has the last rose/dance.

China

At the age of 15, young Chinese women have a ceremony called Ji Li. Men have a ceremony called Guan Li at the age of 20.

South India (Tamil culture) (Tamil Nadu)

When a girl reaches her first period, she receives a turmeric water bath called mangal neerattu vizha from aunts, is dressed up as a bride, and celebrated with a ceremony. This happens mostly in her teens.

See also[edit]

References[edit]