(Closed) can somebody explain to me 'sweet 16'

posted 5 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
409 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

I’m not sure either! I think it must be our sheltered UK lives… Haha. 

Post # 5
1784 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

16 is the age you can get a drivers license in the US. 

Post # 6
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

Children can drive when they reach 16 (and most do in the US) so it’s like their entry into adulthood. Most people I know didn’t have a crazy big party though. 

Post # 8
1685 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Yeah you can drive at 16 but i dont know ANYONE that ever had a huge lavish party in my group of friends. And really, you start driving at 15 1/2 with a permit. It’s not that big of a deal.

Post # 10
5189 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

@ChocolateLime:  The majority of Sweet 16s in the U.S. are far from what you see on TV. Mine was pretty nice, at a small banquet hall, but it wasn’t over the top. And no, it’s not to celebrate getting your driver’s license. In some states you can’t get your license until 17. I don’t know what the significance of 16 is. 

Quinceanera (Sweet 15 in Mexican culture) is a big one, and the girl often wears a lavish ballgown and a tiara.

Post # 11
335 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

In some cultures it represents a time of change, where a child becomes a young man or woman. In the Spanish cultures, the quincenera is like a debutant ball, a coming of age ceremony. They are both celebrated as a time of children letting go of childish things and becoming young adults. a time of pride for parents celebrating that their child had made it through childhood.

Post # 12
11747 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@ChocolateLime:  those parties are not representative of the US. I don’t know anyone that had a sweet 16 party.

Post # 14
1769 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I think 16 is kind of “hey, you’re not just a kid!” – at least, that’s how it was for me. I could drive, get a job, I got a cell phone (that I had to help pay for) etc – generally I was given a lot more personal responsibility once I turned 16. I did have a big party, but it wasn’t like one you see on TV – we just had a few lanes at a bowling alley reserved and I think my parents spend a total of $300 on the party, but I hadn’t had a “real” birthday party since I was 7 or so, so it was a big deal. I didn’t get a car or anything like that (as a matter of fact I didn’t get my first car until I was 17 and it was a 15 year old Ford Probe with no airconditioner or radio, ha!


I think I got a gineau pig as my 16th birthday present (again, more responsibility!).

Post # 15
1814 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013 - Pavilion overlooking golf course scenery, reception at banquet hall

I always assumed it was because 16 is your first real mark of being adult-like. 16 is license, 18 is legally considered an adult for a variety of things, and 21 is for drinking. Well-off parents tend to give their kids cars when they turn 16 (from what I noticed at that age) so kids with a hope of that happening tend to shit their pants in anticipation of turning 16.

I didn’t have a party – possibly because my birthday is the day before Christmas, but I doubt I would have if I had a “normal” birthday anyway. I received a digital camera (2003, so they were the new thing all the teens wanted) but not a car. I bought my hand-me-down car from my mom when I was 17 or 18.

Post # 16
2378 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Sixteen is a ‘big deal’ because it’s when you are legally old enough to drive a car by yourself and it’s also around the time you’re able to get your first job. (‘Cause now you’ve got transportation!) I guess it’s probably one of your first visible steps toward adulthood.

A lot of people do have bigger parties for their ‘sweet 16,’ but they are NOTHING like what you see on TV- that is completely not the norm. For instance, I’ve heard of plenty of hispanic families shelling out tens of thousands of dollars on a Quinceañera, but none of my friends had anything that elaborate.

Myself and most of my friends were given some kind of car for our sixteenth birthdays, however. 

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