This volume compiled by Ilan Stavans examines the importance of ritual and celebration and the quinceañera celebration's growing social importance to in the Latino community, particularly in the United States.
The essays explore the quinceañera and the coming-of-age ritual from various angles. Prior to 2007, the quinceañera received no formal ritual through the Catholic Church, which has since issued one. As such, the role of religion and the Catholic Church in the quinceañera celebration is given extensive consideration. Gender, family status, class, race, as well as the aspects of performance are all discussed as central themes of the celebration. Delving through myriad perspectives, Quinceañeras illuminates the festivities' form and function in creating social and personal identity within the family and the larger Latino community.
Ilan Stavans has been called the czar of Latino culture in the United States by the New York Times and Latin America's liveliest and boldest critic and most innovative cultural enthusiast by the Washington Post. Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture and Amherst College and the recipient of numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Latino Literature Prize, the Antonia Pantoja Award, Chile's Presidential Medal, and the Ruben Dario Distinction. He earned an Emmy nomination as host of the PBS show La Plaza: Conversations with Ilan Stavans. He has taught at Columbia University, Oberlin College, and Smith College, among other institutions. He is the author of numerous publications, including Encyclopedia Latina (2005) and the forthcoming Greenwood Encyclopedia of Latin Music.