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Goodbye childhood, hello party time!

A quinceanera party is commonly thrown for young women of Hispanic descent and serves to celebrate a child's transition into adulthood at the age of 15. Parties traditionally focus on the importance of religion, family and friends and are known to be extravagant affairs that are well-attended by the birthday girl's community. Often compared to a small wedding-like event, quinceanera celebrations can take months of careful planning to pull off - so parents and loved ones often begin selecting a theme when the guest-of-honor is still very young. If you're looking to learn more about this time-honored tradition, here is a brief listing of quinceanera traditions and trends.

Shoe swapping. At a traditional soiree, the young birthday celebrant enters her party wearing simple, flat shoes which are changed to high-heel pumps before the first dance between father and daughter. Both the high-heeled and flat footwear options are often picked out by a girl's parents and given as birthday gifts on the morning of the party and on the dance floor. The last pair of 'child' shoes ever to be worn by the recipient should be comfortable and unique, like customized ballet slippers in a monogrammed pouch.

Passing of the doll. When the birthday girl has a little sister, a special tradition takes place that involves the passing of a single doll from older to younger sibling - signifying a final move toward adulthood. Modern celebrations often provide a small toy or gift for each child under the age of 15, like a glitter daisy purse or makeup kit.

Damas and chambelanes. Comparable to a wedding party, the seven damas (young women) and seven chambelanes (young men) at a quinceanera are often close friends or family members of the birthday girl, who should provide them with a gift to thank them for celebrating the day with her. For the women, jewlery items like engraved rhinestone bracelets or monogramed heart charm bracelets are most appropriate, with monogrammed cuff-links or engraved sports watches for the men.

Gifts. The birthday girl is usually provided with several gifts, including a ring or necklace and a Bible blessed by the ceremony's priest - but non-traditional novelty items can help to make the party even more special. A 'Miss Quince Anos' party sash is sure to go over well when worn during a morning hair or nail appointment, with customized cartoon cookies in the shape of the birthday girl acting as a sweet treat for both the guest-of-honor and event attendees.