Recently I was asked by one of my bonus grandchildren if I would officiate her Quinceañera, which for those of you who don’t know is a Mexican coming of age ceremony. A coming of age ceremony represents the transition from child to adult. A few things to note. I am not Mexican. I cannot speak Spanish. The Quinceañera is a very Catholic ceremony, which I am not. I am however very spiritual. I was asked to modify the ceremony to represent Anya, my bonus granddaughter.
First off, I will apologize to anyone who may take offense to my translation of this ceremony. It in no way is to trivialize the authentic ceremony which holds many years of tradition. There are many more details available on the internet if you would like to know more about it. This post is not about a traditional Quinceañera but about the ceremony I wrote and officiated for my bonus granddaughter Anya.
I have not participated in a coming of age ceremony before. I can tell you that after doing all my research of the many coming of age traditions that are held in many different cultures; I feel all teenagers should participate in one. It holds intense meaning of that transition from a child to an adult. It would help so many struggling teenagers understand the changes they are moving into. They will be held to these new standards anyway, even if they are not aware they are coming. As they move through their teenage years these are common expectations for them as an adult. To know ahead of time would be a great thing in my opinion.
I spent several weeks putting the following ceremony together. It has a very loose packaging based on the traditional Quinceañera.
My Modified Quinceañera
I would like to welcome you all to the Quinceañera of Miss Anya Diann.
My name is Rev. Treasure Niemiec. I have had the pleasure of knowing Anya since the world was blessed with her presence. I am honored that I have been asked to speak today.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the tradition, a Quinceañera is a big step in the life of a young woman. It is a ‘coming of age’ ceremony – a celebration of Anya turning 15 and making the transition from a young girl to becoming a woman. Even more important than a birthday celebration, the Quinceañera is also deeply spiritual.
As a young woman, Anya, you will no longer be able to rely solely on the beliefs of your parents. You will have to take ownership of your own beliefs.
Family, the people you hold in your heart, are very important. Look around at your family. They are here in support of you. Many have labored hard to make this day possible and they want the best for you.
Family, blood and non-blood, is always a resource that you can turn to. Family means closeness, love, and respect for each other. So be sure to love, help and honor your family as they help and honor you. This doesn’t end with becoming a young woman. No, it is a life-long commitment.
Anya, embrace the responsibility of adulthood. With age and maturity comes greater responsibility, a responsibility that is generated out of initiative. Responsibility means that you “want to” because it is “right”, not because you are being “told to”. It is taking ownership of your place and role in the family, with your peers and in your community.
Find your place in this world, use your gifts: your voice, your dreams, your encouraging personality, your energy to help make the world better. Your place in this world is to shine the light of you by living a life consistent with being your best self.
Anya, friendships are important to growth and character. Choose your friends wisely. Find people who will be a positive influence and have the same values as you. Choose friends that have a thirst for knowledge. Life is about learning, growing and advancing. Be a positive influence toward your friends and surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you while you bring out the best in them.
So today is a day for you, Anya, to make a public commitment in front of all of your friends and family, that you are choosing to live a life being the absolute best you that you can be.
Anya, you always make your presence in a room known. You just light up the room. You are passionate about life. You have a fire inside of you that I hope never dies out. You are more fun than bubble wrap. You have a beautiful heart. You’re a gift to everyone you meet. I love how willing and eager you are to help others. You are a natural-born leader. You make a bigger impact than you realize on all the lives you touch. You are the most perfect you there is. You are enough.
I cannot believe that you are 15 already! Wow, time flies. I have had the privilege from watching you mature from that sweet baby I held in my arms into the young woman who stands before us here today.
Today we celebrate your transition into womanhood.
Anya, this is an awesome time of your life – a time when you can dream and learn and grow. But it is also a difficult time. The world can be a difficult place. You will face trials and temptations. You will go through peaks and valleys.
The carefree days of your childhood are behind you. You are responsible for your actions and the decisions you are going to have to make.
I wish you could see how beautiful you look today. We are all truly blessed with your beauty. Please understand, the beauty that lasts is the kind of beauty that comes from the inside out. It is a beauty of character. Of putting your heart first, honoring family, taking on responsibility and helping others. These are all activities that come out of a heart of character.
May you have the strength, wisdom and discernment as you seek to live your life for being the best you from this day on.
Since you have decided to celebrate your birthday in our presence, I with your Family and Friends will dedicate some items to you so that each time you see them you will always remember this joyous event. At this time the family has prepared some gifts for you. Each gift has symbolic meaning to represent your loyalty and commitment to being your best self.
TIARA – Presented by Dad
The Tiara symbolizes that you are a “princess” in the world; you can triumph over childhood and have the ability to face the challenges ahead.
EARRINGS – Presented by Grandmother
The Earrings are a reminder to always listen to your intuition. May you always listen to that little voice in your head on what is right.
BRACELET – Presented by Adam
The Bracelet is a symbol of beliefs and a reminder of your Quinceañera celebration
DRESS – Presented by Mom
The Dress represents purity and that you are set apart for a life of spirituality.
RING – Presented by Sister Rose
The Ring represents that your heart has no beginning or end. It is a symbol of infinity. It is endless, eternal, just the way the love of yourself should be. It will always be a reminder that life is a blessing and that you need to make the most of every second and love yourself fully throughout the process.
At this time, Anya has a few words she would like to share.
To those who love and care for Anya, I ask you now, as Anyamoves from childhood to adulthood that you will watch over her. Guide her steps. Help her in the decisions ahead that will determine the direction and destination of her life.
Give her the strength to make the right choices even when it’s hard. Give her the courage to stand for what is right, even if she is the only one standing. Give her the ability to trust, even when trials and temptations come her way.
I also ask that you support each other, her friends and family, to help guide Anya. To look out for her. To love her. To strengthen her in her beliefs together.
Anya, May you always have enough happiness to keep you sweet, Enough trials to keep you strong, Enough success to keep you eager, Enough faith to give you courage, And enough determination to make each day the best day that it can be.
I was very honored to be asked to apart of such a big day in Anya’s life. I hope it is a day she will always remember. There were so many people that took the time to be there for her and show how much she means to them. What a true gift to share with a new adult. The support of those who love you and who will stand by your side.
P.S. I still can’t say Quinceañera correctly. 😦