Cotillions & Debut Events

9 12 2009

My younger sister, who is almost 16, has been begging my parents lately to let her have a Cotiliion. In Philippine culture, it is a known tradition to celebrate when a Filipina (Filipino girl) turns eighteen. This is called a Debut, or better known today as a Cotillion. This is similar to the Mexican Culture of when a young girl turns fifteen and celebrates what they call a quinceanera. The concept of a Cotillion consists of a debutant, her escort, and a court. She is presented by eight girls and guys in her court, as well as her very own escort, which present to her eighteen candles during the ceremonial event. A rose dance is a part of the ceremony when her eighteen males in the court present a rose and dance with the debutante.
During the cotillion, the debutant and her court perform several dances that usually include the waltz, cha cha, and hip hop routines. Several family members recite some speeches made especially for the debutante, welcoming her to the coming of age.
Planning a cotillion takes months in advance to prepare a uses a huge amount of work and dedication from the debutante’s family and court for everything to come together.
I have been a part of one cotillion in my life, but have attended around ten total so far. Unfortunately, the economy began its downfall around the time I was seventeen and would have to start planning, therefore I was unable to have a cotillion of my own. The choice a Filipina has these days are either a car or a cotillion. The memories are well worth from what I have seen, and girls who have one surely are lucky – they are expensive!

-Racquel Aquino

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