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Sweet sixteen (birthday)

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.
Candle-lighting ceremony

At a Sweet Sixteen party, there is usually a candle lighting ceremony. This consists of the Sweet Sixteen birthday girl lighting up sixteen candles representative of sixteen people or groups of people, sometimes with a seventeenth candle for good luck. These candles can be standing independently in candle holders on a table, or placed on a birthday cake. Each candle represents a person or group of people who has impacted the birthday girl's life in a positive way, such as parents, best friends, siblings, grandparents, etc. Sometimes there is a memory candle, which could be the seventeenth candle or one of the original sixteen, that is lit in memory of a passed away loved one. When the birthday girl announces each candle, she can add a poem, anecdote, or short speech telling the guests of why that person or group of people is important to her. The people for whom the candle is for then come up to help her light the candle while a song plays in the background. The birthday girl can also have a "candle buddy," usually her best friend or sister, who may light the candles with her throughout the whole ceremony while she reads her poem/anecdote/short speech.