The Debut is a traditionalFilipino coming-of-age celebration for young women.
On their 18th birthday, Filipinas customarily throw a large party, complete with a her own hand-picked entourage of 18 people or sets of 18. These 18 are 9 males and 9 females who the celebrant pairs off into partners. The celebrant's court usually wears a uniform formal outfit chosen by the celebrant, similar to the dress of a wedding party, while the celebrant herself typically wears an extravagant gown.
The birthday celebrant along with her partner and court perform traditional dances for their guests. The most important one is known as the "Grand Cotillion Dance" which is usually a classic waltz. There is also an "18 Roses Dance", where 18 males picked by the celebrant beforehand dance with her after presenting her with a single red rose. This dance is almost always preceded or concluded with the memorable "Father and Daughter Dance", the father sometimes taking the place of the 18th rose (who is sometimes the girl's boyfriend).
During the celebration, the debutante also has 18 chosen "candles". These "candles" are females who know the celebrant and must give a short speech on either their relationship with the celebrant and/or any special birthday wishes they have for their celebrant. After all the food, entertainment, and Philippine Debut traditions for this occasion has gone under way, the celebrant brings the celebration to a close with a Debutante's speech in which she shares her life experience and gratitude with her guests.