A sweet sixteen party is a type of birthday party in the United States, usually celebrated for a girl on her sixteenth birthday. Sweet Sixteen parties were once given as a celebration of the girl's virginity, or a celebration of being old enough to drive, but are now more general coming of age celebrations.
Counterparts in other cultures
Many Spanish and Latin American cultures celebrate a girl's fifteenth birthday with a Quinceanera. In Brazil, these events are called Baile de Debutantes (Debutante). In some cases, Brazilian girls have their own party, like the Sweet Sixteen, but at age of 15.
In traditional Judaism, girls reach the age of spiritual maturity at the age of 12 (with their bat mitzvah), compared to boys who reach the age of spiritual maturity at 13 (with their bar mitzvah). Many practitioners of Reform Judaism have adopted the Catholic custom of a confirmation ceremony, sometimes celebrated on the girl's sixteenth birthday.
When young Filipina girls turn 18 they have a Philippine Debut.
In popular culture
- The 1984 film Sixteen Candles features a coming of age story as the lead character, Samantha Baker, turns sixteen.
- In the anime series Robotech, the 8th episode is called "Sweet Sixteen". It deals with the character Lynn Minmay's 16th birthday.
- The TV series 6teen featured an episode entitled "Sweet 6teen".
- Each episode of the TV series My Super Sweet 16 involves the planning and throwing of a sweet 16 party.