Sweet sixteen (birthday)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2010)|
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
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.
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
Latin American cultures
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.
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.