Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Exactly is a Debut...

The Cesar Chavez Library will be hosting a Quinceanera and Debut program May 30th at 3:00pm. But what exactly is a Debut?

Debut comes from, “Debutante,” a French word for “female beginner,” is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who as reached the age of maturity, and as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal presentation known as her “debut” or “coming out.” Originally, it meant the young woman was eligible for marriage, and part of the purpose was to display her to eligible bachelors and their families with a view to marriage within a select upper class circle. This event is traditionally referred to as The Debutante’s Ball.

In the Philippines, a debutante’s ball is very popular and widely celebrated when young Filipina teenager turns 18.
The highlight of a debutante’s ball is known as The Grand Cotillion Dance where the Debutante, with an escort, share a waltz dance with the elegantly-dressed cotillion court composed of her friends of 9 boys and 9 girls. A special cotillion choreographer is normally hired by the debutante’s parent to teach the un-experienced boys and girls to perform a highly-choreographed waltz dance. Practices for the dance can last for 6 months and normally held in the debutante’s residence every weekend. The Debutante picks the 18 songs to play and the participants normally include relatives, friends, godfathers, neighbors and acquaintances.

Next of the tradition is The 18 Candles Presentation, wherein 18 ladies will light 18 candles to resemble the 18 lights that will serve as guidance to the debutante as she makes her transition to the status of a full grown woman. Most often, the mother of the debutante is the last of the 18 candles participants. Each participant also says a word, a congratulatory note or wishes to the debutante.

A new activity that we have seen lately is what others call The 18 Symbolic Treasures, where 18 participants, mostly family friends and relatives, as well as godmothers and godfathers, offer a gift to the debutante. A perfect gift is something that the Debutante can treasure as she moves on to college and started to live as a young woman.
After all the food, entertainment, and Philippine Debut traditions for this wonderful occasion has gone under way, the celebrant brings the celebration to a close with a Debutante's speech in which she shares her life experience and gratitude with her beloved guests.

This information was gathered from the following sources:
Pacific Sounds (http://www.pacificsoundsdj.com/tradition/)
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Debut)

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