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. Recently, boys have also begun to celebrate their sixteenth birthday in this trend as well.
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.
Candle-lighting ceremony 
Each of the 16 candles holds a special meaning
- The first candle is for the girl's/boy's parents.
- The second candle is for the god parents.
- The third candle is for the siblings. (If there are no siblings, then this candle can represent the grandparents.)
- Candles 4, 5, 6, and 7 are for the rest of the family members.
- Candles 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 are for friends.
- Candle 15 is for the girl's/boy's best friend or friends.
- The 16th candle is for the boyfriend/girlfriend or a very close male/female friend.
- Some add a 17th candle which represents good luck.
Shoe ceremony 
For females, the shoe ceremony is common at sweet sixteen parties. In this ceremony, the birthday girl sits down in a chair while her grandfather, uncle, godfather, or father approaches her with high heels on a decorative pillow. The girl would traditionally be wearing flat shoes, such as slippers, and the father ceremoniously helps her into her new high heels. This is symbolic of the girl transitioning into a woman.
Tiara ceremony 
This ceremony is similar to the shoe ceremony, except the mother approaches with a tiara instead of shoes. 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.
Father-daughter dance 
The father-daughter dance is a tradition that is also frequently performed at weddings. The girl and her father dance to a slow-jazz or traditional song while everyone sits and watches. This is mainly the first song of the night.
In cases where the boy is celebrating, the sexes are simply switched as he dances with his mother.
Video montage 
At high end sweet sixteens, a DJ often brings along several televisions or a projector to show a video montage set to music of the birthday girl/boy containing pictures starting from when she/he was a baby and getting older, usually ending with pictures of her/him in her sweet sixteen wear. This is either made by the DJ with photos provided from the family of the birthday girl/boy, by the parents, or by a sibling. The guests can either sit down and watch this montage, or it could be playing in the background while the guests dance.
Counterparts in other cultures 
Latin American cultures 
Many Latin American cultures celebrate a girl's fifteenth birthday with a quinceañera. In Brazil, these events are called Baile de debutantes (as well as in other Latin American countries). But are celebrated in many places
Jewish culture 
In Reform, and Conservative 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 adult.
Asian culture 
When young Filipino girls turn 18 they have a Début. There are 18 roses given by 18 male friends and family - the father has the last rose/dance. Followed by a cutillion or usually a square dance by 18 girls/women and boys/men.
Eighteen is the age when a young person becomes an adult in Poland. That means he can start purchasing, among other things, alcohol and tobacco; he also may participate in gambling.
Because of the above, the 18th birthday (osiemnastka) is often celebrated without parents, with adult-themed presents and binge drinking.
It is common to have a small party at a pub or nightclub at age 18, when one can legally gamble and purchase alcohol.