The origin of the quinceañera can be traced back to the Aztecs about 500 B.C. Fifteen was the age at which boys became warriors and girls were also presented to the community because they were looked upon as the vital force of the tribe.
A rite of passage for fifteen-year-old girls, it is a community celebration to honor the young woman into adulthood. Full of tradition, the celebration usually consists of having fourteen young girls called damas and fourteen young men called chambelanes.
The celebration begins with a blessing at the church where the Quinceañera and her parents reaffirm her baptism vows. Then the celebration moves to the town square or a large gathering space. Before the dance begins, the Quinceañera hands over her last doll to the youngest female member of the family and with the assistance of her parents, her shoes (flats) are changed for heels, and she dances a special song with her dad. Usually, by this time there isn't a dry eye in the place.
Then, the Quinceañera with her damas and chambelanes dance a coordinated routine, beginning the festivities.
Of course there's food...lot's of it.
*The picture above is of my niece who celebrated hers a few years ago.