The sweetest birthday


Callie Kinsinger

Sweet 16 themes commonly include nighttime in a famous city and a fancy setting such as a ball and slumber parties. The decoration and attendance attire varies depending on each theme and what the planner desires. Featuring a variety of games and food allows all guests satisfaction and an enjoyable time.

Callie Kinsinger, Features Editor

For teenage girls, a “Sweet 16” celebrates approaching adulthood and turning 16 years old. This celebration normally consists of a grand party including a well-thought-out theme with specific details and plans.

Sweet 16’s, honored in the U.S. and Canada, mark the end of childhood and move on to become a mature, responsible young adults. This transition to womanhood allows girls to drive, obtain a job and work up to other responsibilities.

Along with the idea of young women maturing, a common concept for sweet 16 parties features the father “giving away” his daughter, similar to a wedding or debutante ball. Another common tradition showcases lighting 16 candles, each representing an important person in the birthday girl’s life and she can talk about how much they mean to her.

“I think sweet 16’s are celebrated because of tradition. Sweet 16s bring awareness to the stage of life that is the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. The best part of a sweet 16 is having family around because it makes me feel loved,” junior Tianni Johnson said.

These parties hold major importance to girls coming of age because of the social importance placed on this birthday. Social media, movies and TV shows set high expectations for what a girl’s sweet 16 should look like. Online, the celebrations look perfect, so numerous girls look up to achieving the same kind of parties that seemed exemplary, such as influencers’ posts with extravagant venues and the TV show My Super Sweet 16.

Other cultures celebrate birthdays of major importance at varying ages. For example, Hispanic cultures honor the 15th birthday with a Quinceanera. Quinceañeras follow the same traditional structure including dancing, specific clothing and a large venue. In China, some celebrated birthdays include the first, 10th, 60th and 70th. These milestones consist of specific foods in grand banquets.

“I think it’s important for me to have a sweet 16 because it’s a moment for my friends and family to be able to gather and celebrate. It’s just a great moment for me to understand where I am in life and see how far I’ve gotten in dark times. You look back and see that you thought you wouldn’t make it this far but it’s just a moment of realization even through hard times you made it,” sophomore Gabriella Larson said.

Each girl wishes for a perfect party, an event that can represent what they accomplished and where they will end up further in life. The chosen themes for sweet 16 parties often represent the birthday girl’s personality and interests, so the parties can become fully customized. 

“My sweet 16 took about three to four months to prepare for. I feel like it was worth it because it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. I’m satisfied with how it went because it seems like everyone enjoyed themselves,” Johnson said.

The extravagant parties become the highlight of a sweet 16 birthday. Intricate decorations, clothing and foods planned for weeks fill the party venues, creating detailed celebrations. Teenage girls commonly wear dresses, skirts and pantsuits to their formal sweet 16 parties.