Austrian Rligious Ceremonies: Firmung

Figure 1.--A German reader has sent us this photograph from his First Communion in 1990. I'm not sure what the horse-drawn carriages are all about and how common this was in Germany. He tells us that the "sammet" suit seen here, was the one his uncle used to wear when he was a boy, usually with short trousers.

HBC likes to assess various social customs in different countries because they often are associated with costume and clothing. Firmung is the Catholic celebration of Confirmation. In the protestant churches in Germany it is known as Konfirmation. In Austria, especially in Wien (Vienna) the Firmung is held on Pfingsten (Whitsun or Pentecost). The boys or girls are entirely re-clothed by their godfather or godmother. They receive a prayers book, a golden arm watch and a balloon. After the ceremony a chariot is driven to the photographer then they visit the Prater. (The Prater is in Wien where people go for fun and spend money. It's an amusement park. There are Ferris wheels (one being famous) roundabouts, stalls for sweets, etc.) Finally the day is finished by a large diner. The chariots are usually two horse fiaker (coaches) with white flowered "umbrellas" or cars. The photograph here shows two 14-15 year old boys, a blond and a dark haired boy. The blond boy is holding a red balloon. They're dressed in dark suits, as well as their godfather, all of them are standing at the Stephansplatz in Wien. You can see two white flowered fiakers, one of them with two with horses. The photograph was taken on May 17, 1970.


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Created: July 11, 2002
Last edited: 12:56 AM 4/26/2008