The 18 roses represent 18 males in the debutante's court as a symbol of courtship while the 18 candles represent 18 females in the court as a symbol of loved ones lighting the way to adulthood. The debutante chooses the 18 men and 18 women she wants in her court. This ritual is a part of a girl's 18th birthday in the Philippines.
The debut in Filipino culture marks the time when a girl is introduced into society for the first time as an adult. The practice is believed to have derived from the Spanish quinceanera, which occurs on a girl's 15th birthday and was developed in the Philippines during its colonization by Spain. In addition to the presentation of 18 roses and 18 candles, the debut often includes dinner, cake and entertainment.