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In the United States, a prom, short for promenade, is a formal dance held at the end of the years of high school and college, called junior prom and senior prom respectively. In British English such an event would be called a ball, although in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand it is also often called a formal. In Australian schools the terms used are either formal or sometimes as Leaver's Dinner, usually so when the night includes a meal. In Ireland it is known as a debs (an abbreviation of debutante ball). In the U.S. a "formal" is typically a similar dance that is held by a fraternity or sorority affiliated with a certain college or university. In Australia, the term "prom" has also come into sparse usage and in Britain it is becoming widespread, because of US influence. The name is derived from the late ninteenth century practice of a Promenade ball. The end of year tradition stemmed from the Graduation Ball tradition.

Quinceanera Cruises

The introduction of a young lady into society was known as the debutante "coming out" party. In it's day, the American people were dazzled by the introduction of new and blooming beauties known as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, or Pamela Harriman. In the Mexican or Hispanic community, these parties are known as Quinceaneras!

The quinceanera tradition started centuries ago as an important social ritual for the people of Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico to commemorate the transition from adolescence to womanhood. Soon, it spread to Central America, where they are known as "pink parties". Historically, the quinceanera includes a mass in homage to the young lady, who then receives instruction of her new obligations as a woman. For the ceremony, the young lady chooses fourteen ladies as her damas, or maids, and each of them chooses a male partner or escort.

Today, all Hispanic groups celebrate quinceaneras as a social event in recognition of a Latina girl turning fifteen. For Hispanics in the United States this popular tradition also serves as a celebration of their heritage.

Some families spend huge amounts of money for the event. Nowadays quinceaneras can even resemble extravagant weddings! More than a tradition, the quinceanera is also BIG Business. Since 1988, Yolanda Marto's travel agency has thrived as a full-time organizer of cruise trips for quinceaneras. She says "some girls choose to have a party for their coming of age, while others choose to spend the time with their family on a nice vacation, or cruise".

As the Hispanic population continues to grow, so will the culture, and customs of their native heritage.

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