Fist Comminion was a very important day in the life of an Argentine child, although this varies from school to school. The private Catholic schools gave special attention to First Communion. Boys from aflluent families would have special suits for the occasion. Eton suits or white suits were particularly popular. Often the class would dress alike for the occasion. By the 1980s such fancy syuts had become less common. One boy at a Catholic school reports wearing the school uniform with a blue blazer or suit coat instead of the smock and a big white flower attached on our left arm. I wore a white short sleeve shirt, blue tie, grey short pants, blue knee socks, black high-fronted shoes and a blue blazer. Other Argentine boys wore many different clothes for First Communion. It depended a lot on social status. The poorer kids mainly wore jeans, various shoes, a shirt or a t-shirt and their white front buttoning school "v" neck smock. Other boys from more affluent families mainly wore short pants suits.
Fist Comminion was a very important day in the life of an Argentine child, although this varies from school to school. The private Catholic schools gave special attention to First Communion. First Communion is still an important event, but it used to be even more importnt. Children get "stamps" at their first communion. They gave them to their relatives and friends and then they get presents. An Argentine reader reports, You don’t get presents, generally you get specifically money". Catholic school children would go as a class group goes to church to take their First Communion. They go one by one to take it.
You have to take a little course of 2 years and after it you can take the first communion. A reader tells us, "This is true but only for those children that do not go to catholic schools. In my case I had catechesis since I entered the kindergarten until I finished the school. The age is approximately 11-12 years. Pne reader tells us that he was 13 years old. You have to continue that course for 2 more years to take the confirmation. Public school children have to go to the town church to prepare for their First Communion.
We have begin to develop chronological information on Argentine First Communions. We do not yet know much about the 19th century, especially the early-19th century. By the late-19h century we see Argentine boys dressing up in dark suits for their First Communions. We know much more about the 20th century. We still see dark suits in the early-20th century. We see some sailor suits. Other boys wearformal Eton collars. Adter World War we begin to see somw white suits, including white sailor suits. First Communions were often organized a school. Here the class would dress alike for the occasion. White suits seem to have been very popular in the 1950s and 60s. By the late 60s we begin to see less formality. Some boys did not wear suits, but rather hite shirts and dress pants. By the 1980s, fancy suits had become increasingly less common for the boys. Girls continued to wear the junior wedding dresses. One boy at a Catholic school reports wearing the school uniform with a blue blazer or suit coat instead of the smock and a big white flower attached on our left arm. I wore a white short sleeve shirt, blue tie, grey short pants, blue knee socks, black high-fronted shoes and a blue blazer. Another reader reports that when he took his first holy communion, he ws already in secondary school so he wore long pants. Styles changed significantly by the 1980s. Eton suits were gone and white suits no longer common. Boys that could afford to dress up for the occasion mostly wore dark subdued colored suits, grey, dark grey, brown, dark brown. Some boys wore their school uniforms.
Several different suit styles have been worn by Argentine boys. These have varied over time and also by the social status and affluence of the boys's family. We note styles in the early 20th century that were similar to styles we have seen in Europe. Eton suits were widely worn by boys from affluent families for formal occasions, including First Communion. Some boys only wore an Eton collar with a regular dark suit. Other boys had the full Eton suit with short dark jackets and grey trousers. Eton suits were normally worn with long pants. We notice boys wearing black suits. This appears to have been common in the early 20th century. White suits were also commonly worn for First Communion, especially in the mid-20th century. By the 1950s they were being worn with both long and short pants. The boys in short pants during the 1950s wore kneesocks or less commnly ankle socks with white or black shoes. HBC believes that boys in the 1920s and 30s commonly wore white sailor suits, but do not have photographic images. A reader reports, "My grandfather took his first holy communion in 1923 and he told me that he wore a white suits sailor style and my father in 1955 wore the same kind of suit both of them wore white shoes." Other boys wore regular dark suits. Some boys from affluent families were still wearing short pants suits as late as the 1980s. Some boys wore blazers and dress slacks or their school uniform for First Communion. Other Argentine boys wore many different clothes for First Communion. It depended a lot on social status. The poorer kids mainly wore jeans, various shoes, a shirt or a t-shirt and their white front buttoning school v neck smock. Other boys from more affluent families mainly wore short pants suits.
Boys from aflluent families would have special suits for the occasion as described above. Boys at Catholic School would do First Communion as a class group. Some attempt would often be made to have the children dress identicall. We note some schools, howevr, where the boys are dressed differently. At one school we note the boys earing two different styles of suits, some white and others dark suits I'm not sure how First Communiin was handled for children in state schools. A reader reports
that they had a course (as mentioned above) in the district (or zone) church or in some cases in the catechist house, and after that 2 years course, the procedure was basically the same, they do it as a class group and go to take the 'Corpus Christi' one by one.
Most of the information we have collected on First Communion in Argentina show school or church groups participating in the ceremony. First Communion was a very important event. hus there is a substantil photographic record. In addition to the many group portraits, we have archived individual portraits of Argentine children in their First Communion outfits taken before or after the ceremony. And we notice family celebrations at home with the communicants. But the church ceremony itself seems to have been primarily done as a group event. Rarely do we notice family events in the church with a single child or perhaps family siblings and/ or cousins. We have found a few such events with First Communion as an individual family event. We are not sure just how common this was, but given the relative rarety in the photographic record it looks to us like it was not very common at all. We suspect that such individual church events were most common among well-to-do Argentine familes. As they must have been expensive. Hopefully Argentine readers can provise some insights here.
Leandro: The 1980s
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