On September 22, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden took part of the Hispanic Heritage Celebration with its first annual Quinceañera Fashion Show. At 10 a.m., selected participants walked the stage in Rosine Hall, showcasing their beautiful and colorful quinceañera dresses. This celebration was the same day as the opening of Autumn at the Arboretum and the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s fifth anniversary birthday celebration.
Among several Spanish-speaking countries and Hispanic communities around the world, girls celebrate turning 15 years old with both a religious and social event called a quinceañera. The ritual symbolizes a girl’s transformation from childhood into womanhood by expressing thanksgiving to God for life and by a purity protection blessing from a priest for the years to come. The party is the second part of the quinceañera with dancing, food and music, ending with a father replacing his daughter’s flat-soled shoe with high heels. Individual rituals can vary between cultures, but the heart of the “Sweet 15” remains as a coming-of-age ceremony.
Mark Wolf, Dallas Arboretum board chairman, said, “We often see these beautiful young ladies get their portraits taken at the Dallas Arboretum, yet many of us are not familiar with the traditions and customs of a quinceañera. By showcasing them as they prepare to celebrate their quinceañera, we learned more about their culture, customs and personal stories during a special coming of age moment.”