General Question

MarkHeftler's avatar

Do Sweet 16's exist in countries other than the US?

Asked by MarkHeftler (182points) April 30th, 2008 from iPhone

So I went to a Sweet 16 last night and I was a little sickened by it. I dont understand where this tradition arises from, the idea that a young girl reaching the age of 16, a time where they can hardly appreciate the time and money being spent for their party, should be celebrated. There’s nothing special about turning 16, and it’s immediately followed by 18, graduation, 21 and college graduation, each one bigger than the last. So why a Sweet 16? It strikes me as the pinnacle of American capitalist consumerist greedy decadence. Parents spending $100s ($1,000s) so their daughter can get $100s ($1,000s) in gifts. It seems so…wrong. Agree? Disagree? And do these occur in other countries? For the sake of the world, I hope they don’t.

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13 Answers

Breefield's avatar

Mexicans have…oh, I can’t remember what they call it. Anyhow, they have a celebration when their children turn 16. But their celebration is family oriented.

srmorgan's avatar



wildflower's avatar

Not in any of the European countries I’ve lived in (mostly Northern/Western).

joeysefika's avatar

Not in Australia or New Zealand, many people have a bigger party but nothing extraordinary costing thousands.

jrpowell's avatar

Lets be realistic. MTV has a stupid show about obnoxious tweens that are spoiled fucks. This in no way represents anything. I have never known anyone who has had a sweet 16 party. And I have know some rich obnoxious brats. It is a stupid fucking TV show and doesn’t reflect reality. Well, maybe in Miami. And everybody knows Florida is the home of the dumb and old.

mcbealer's avatar

Quinceanera is celebrated by many people of Hispanic descent. It is not solely celebrated in the country of Mexico. It is celebrated when a girl turns 15 (quince in Spanish)

TheHaight's avatar

I love quinceneras! I wish I had one. Seriously, though.. I dont even think I remember my “sweet 16” and that was only 5 years ago… I know when I turn 21 this September it will be more memorable then a stupid sweet sixteen. Man thats going to be killing me now… What did I do? Mustve not been too exciting..

eambos's avatar

Or maybe so exciting that you passed out and forgot about it…

mandyhammon's avatar

as in the show on mtv my super sweet 16 parents spending more on a party than i did on my wedding house and car ha i think its a joke and honestly have never known anyone to have one other than that show on tv

kevbo's avatar

To answer your question, the tradition originates as a means of presenting a coming-of-age girl to “society.” It marks the passage from girlhood to womanhood with all the benefits that confers.

jewels10's avatar

what about the bar and bat mitzah’s? I know that’s supposed to be a religious thing, but I’ve seen parents spend lots and lots of $$$ on these over the top parties to celebrate Kids turning 13.

Emilyy's avatar

I’ve heard people compare Sweet 16 parties or Quinceanera celebrations to the “coming out” parties that debutantes have when they’re supposed to be “presented” to society, in a sense. It’s just sort of a tradition with some sectors of the population. I think Sweet 16 parties are more like coming out parties for people who just necessarily don’t call them debutante balls. Maybe it’s because presenting your debutante teenage daughter to society in a thousand-dollar white dress and long white gloves seems totally outdated. But I guess throwing her a hundred-thousand-dollar bash on MTV while she wears a backless sequined mini-dress and whines about the model of BMW she got seems much more modern. Would anyone really throw those kinds of parties if it weren’t just for the attention it will get them from being on TV?

Strauss's avatar

The Quinceaneros, sweet 16, debutante ball, bat/bar mitzvahs, the Catholic sacrament of confirmation all originate in the same idea, the coming-of-age ritual, as kevbo suggested. Similar traditions are seen in the VisionQuest of Native Americans, or Gempuku among the samurai.

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