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
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.
Recently on a girl's sweet sixteen they often receive a car from their parents, marking the child's increased freedom and responsibility. Most parents don't have to give a car, however, but other gifts that the female wants is also given in the replacement of a large gift such as a vehicle.
Counterparts in other cultures
Latin American cultures
In Reform, 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. These are important dates in the Jewish culture, because following these ceremonies, bar or bat mitzvah, the young person is considered an 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.