Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Elisabeth O. Burgess - Chair

Second Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc

Third Advisor

Denise Donnelly


Young women in Mexico and parts of Central America celebrate their fifteenth birthdays by following a complex rite of initiation, called Quinceañeras, a special ritual developed as a mixed heritage of the native people and their contact with European conquerors. The emerging Latino population in Atlanta celebrates this rite, facing the reality of being a minority racial group, although they maintain the same essence and goal than the celebration than in their country. This research explores this growing population group in Atlanta, in a special and significant cultural occasion, using an ethnographic approach methodology through participant observation and personal journals of the Quinceañeras as way to describe the meaning, implications and issues of this celebration for these girls and their families under a Social Constructionist Model of Ethnicity and Life Course Sociology theoretical framework.

Included in

Sociology Commons