Scholastic ACTION: September 20, 2010
DIRECTIONS: In this issue of Action, you read about a Mexican holiday called the Day of the Dead. Now read the passage below, about another special Latin-American tradition. Then click the bubble next to the best answer for each question.
In many Latin-American countries, 14-year-old girls can hardly wait for their next birthday. They look forward to their quinceañera (KEEN-say-ahn-YEH-ruh), a special 15th-birthday celebration for girls. On this day, a girl becomes a young woman in the eyes of her family and friends.
The quinceañera tradition goes back hundreds of years. It probably began with the Aztecs, in an area that is now part of Mexico. At that time, a girl of 15 was considered an adult, old enough to marry.
Since then, the tradition has changed and spread. Today, quinceañeras are celebrated in most of Latin America, and in the United States.
Modern quinceañeras are big events. The girl wears a fancy dress, and sometimes even a crown. Friends and relatives bring special gifts. There's delicious food, a beautiful cake, and dancing late into the night.
But a quinceañera is more than just a party. It includes ceremonies to show that the girl is growing up. For example, during the event, the girl's father takes off her flat slippers and places high-heeled shoes on her feet instead.
A quinceañera is a goodbye to childhood. It's a day to celebrate the future. For many girls, it's the greatest day of their lives.