There is no fixed set of Sweet Sixteen traditions. The girl usually gets dressed up. A large selection of Sweet Sixteen dresses can be found on missesdressy.com.
|A Sweet Sixteen dress: credits to missesdressy.com.|
One popular tradition is the candle-lighting ceremony. Sixteen candles are lit on a large cake. Each candle represents an important person (or, in some cases, people) in the birthday girl's life. The first candle represents her parents, the second represents her siblings, candles three through six represent extended family members, candles seven through fourteen represent the birthday girl's friends, the fifteenth candle represents her best friend, and the sixteenth candle represents her boyfriend or another close male friend. Sometimes a seventeenth candle is added for good luck. Candles are often lit by the people they represent.
Sweet Sixteen parties can be formal or informal, and they can be large or small. There are a countless number of themes one could consider. Several are listed on ehow.co.uk. Preparations for a Sweet Sixteen must be made well in advance, what with selecting a theme, buying outfits based on that theme, renting a space, and hiring a DJ. In this way, Sweet Sixteens are similar to Quinceañeras.
Some people believe that girls focus more on the party itself than on what it symbolizes. For this reason, many Latino parents are sad when their daughter chooses to have a Sweet Sixteen rather than a Quinceañera.
Birthday shoutouts to Darcy and Henry