Sweet sixteen (birthday)

Sweet sixteen (birthday)

A sweet sixteen party is a type of birthday party in the United States, usually celebrated for a girl on her sixteenth birthday. Sweet Sixteen parties were once given as a celebration of the girl's virginity, or a celebration of being old enough to drive, but are now more general coming of age celebrations.Fact|date=August 2008

Types of sweet sixteen party

A Sweet Sixteen, like a wedding, can be extremely formal, casual, or semi-formal. Sweet Sixteens can range from a simple house party or dinner party at a restaurant to large affairs with a hired DJ, makeup and hair stylists, and renting out yachts and hotel ballrooms. Large and formal Sweet Sixteens are featured prominently on MTV's TV show, "My Super Sweet Sixteen."


Candle-lighting ceremony

At a Sweet Sixteen party, there is usually a candle lighting ceremony. This consists of the Sweet Sixteen birthday girl lighting up sixteen candles representative of sixteen people or groups of people, sometimes with a seventeenth candle for good luck. These candles can be standing independently in candle holders on a table, or placed on a birthday cake. Each candle represents a person or group of people who has impacted the birthday girl's life in a positive way, such as parents, best friends, siblings, grandparents, etc. Sometimes there is a memory candle, which could be the seventeenth candle or one of the original sixteen, that is lit in memory of a passed away loved one. [http://candles.lovetoknow.com/Sweet_16_Candle_Ceremony]

When the birthday girl announces each candle, she can add a poem, anecdote, or short speech telling the guests of why that person or group of people is important to her. The people for whom the candle is for then come up to help her light the candle while a song plays in the background. The birthday girl can also have a "candle buddy," usually her best friend or sister, who may light the candles with her throughout the whole ceremony while she reads her poem/anecdote/short speech. [http://www.party411.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=sweet16;action=display;num=1091932156]

Shoe ceremony

The shoe ceremony is common at Sweet Sixteen parties, although they are more often seen in Quinceañeras. In this ceremony, the birthday girl sits down in a chair while her grandfather or father approaches her with high heels on a decorative pillow. The girl would traditionally be wearing flat shoes, such as slippers, and the father ceremoniously helps her into her new high heels. This is symbolic of the girl transitioning into womanhood. [http://www.party411.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=sweet16;action=display;num=1091932156]

Tiara ceremony

This ceremony is similar to the shoe ceremony, except the father/grandfather approaches with a tiara instead of shoes. He places it on the birthday girl's head to symbolize her becoming a woman. Sometimes this is combined with the shoe ceremony, so that two people approach the birthday girl, one with a pillow with high heels, and the other with a pillow with a tiara. [http://www.party411.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=sweet16;action=display;num=1091932156]

Daddy-daughter dance

The Daddy-Daughter Dance is a tradition that is also frequently performed at weddings. The birthday girl and her father dance to a slow song while everyone watches.

Video montage

At high end Sweet Sixteens, a DJ often brings along several televisions or a projector to show a video montage set to music of the birthday girl containing pictures starting from when she was a baby and getting older, usually ending with pictures of her in her Sweet Sixteen dress. This is either made by the DJ with photos provided from the family of the birthday girl, by the parents, by a sibling, or by the birthday girl herself. The guests can either sit down and watch this montage, or it could be playing in the background while the guests dance.

Counterparts in other cultures

panish and Latin American cultures

Many Spanish and Latin American cultures celebrate a girl's fifteenth birthday with a Quinceañera. In Brazil, these events are called "Baile de Debutantes" (Debutante). In some cases, Brazilian girls have their own party, like the Sweet Sixteen, but at age of 15.

Jewish culture

In traditional Judaism, girls reach the age of spiritual maturity at the age of 12 (with their bat mitzvah), compared to boys who reach the age of spiritual maturity at 13 (with their bar mitzvah). Many practitioners of Reform Judaism have adopted the Catholic custom of a confirmation ceremony, sometimes celebrated on the girl's sixteenth birthday.

Asian culture

When young Filipina girls turn 18 they have a Philippine Debut.

In popular culture

Film and television

* The 1984 film "Sixteen Candles" features a coming of age story as the lead character, Samantha Baker, turns sixteen.
* In the anime series Robotech, the 8th episode is called "Sweet Sixteen". It deals with the character Lynn Minmay's 16th birthday.
* The TV series 6teen featured an episode entitled "Sweet 6teen".
* Each episode of the TV series My Super Sweet 16 involves the planning and throwing of a sweet 16 party.


* "16 Candles" - recorded by the Crests and several other artists, including Roy Orbison
* "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" - Neil Sedaka
* "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More 'Touch Me'" - Fall Out Boy
* "Sixteen" - on No Doubt's album "Tragic Kingdom"
* "Sweet Little Sixteen" - Chuck Berry
* "Sweet Sixteen" - Billy Idol, it references a lost love of Edward Leedskalnin.Fact|date=May 2008
* "Sweet Sixteen" (no connection to the Billy Idol version) - Hilary Duff, it later became the theme song for MTV's reality show "My Super Sweet 16".
* "You're Sixteen" - written by the Sherman Brothers, recorded by Johnny Burnette, Ringo Starr and others.
* "Only Sixteen" recorded - Sam Cooke
* "It Hurts To Be Sixteen" - Andrea Carroll

ee also

* Quinceañera
* Confirmation
* Bat Mitzvah
* Age 16
* My Super Sweet 16
* Teenager


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