HBC has collected some individual experiences reported by readers concenrning Forst Communion, Solemn Communion, and Confirmation. The accounts vary. Some deal mostly with the suiyts they wore, while others describe the sxperience in more detail. Hopefully other readers will contribute their experiences here so we can better understand the event in different countries and at different times.
Our greatest 'first' event was that of our First Holy Communion. Napoleon Bonaparte was once asked what his greatest childhood memory was, and he replied, "The day I received my First Holy Communion". It is most special because we are conscious of being really fussed over by our parents and our teachers. Again it is our first realisation that we are "somebody"--we are somehow important in this life - being centre stage - and being Irish, and especially being coveys, we play it to the hilt!
My First Communion took place April 1944, well before Vatican II. It was conducted at my boarding school . It was a boarding school for boys and girls.
I grew up during 1950s in New Jersey. I had quite a few suits, so there were different colors, but mom seemed to favor dark suits with shorts that matched the jacket. I do remember one different suit. I don't know whether you are familiar with the Catholic ceremony of First Communion, but at age seven, boys and girls go through it. There is studying, and a final ceromony at church, where all the boys and girls attend a Mass, dressed all in
white. The girls wore white laced dresses with white knee socks, and
the boys were also dressed the same, in all white suits with short
pants, white knee socks, and white shoes. I have a picture of me and
my classmates and we looked adorable if I do say so. I don't remember exactly how I felt about it. The other boys also had short pants suits and my
other suits [sorry link tmporarily lost No way!, he said that he would ever wear white short pants and knee socks!!
There used to be two kinds of First Communions. These two types are still known today, but less common. The " première communion " (first communion) was a private and ordinary ceremony. Some young boys were allowed to recieve First Communion before 11-12 years old. The more common type was " la communion solennelle " (the solemn communion) which is a beautifull and important ceremony for French children. This ceremony is also often called first communion because most of the the children are recieving comminion for the first time in their lives. My First Communion was the first type and it took place in France, although I had been living in Austria for some time.
I had a relatively strict and, probably, slightly old-fashioned upbringing. So, I suppose that the clothes and lifestyle that I had were more typical of a classic British upbringing in the late 1960s, rather than what most boys of my age were going through in the 1970s.
One American contributor to HBC recalls a rather touching confirmation suit his mother made for him because they did not have money for a new suit.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site Christianity page:
[Main Christianity page]
[Communion] [Ring bearer] [Victorian wedding]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Religion] [Style Index]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web style pages:
[Short pants suits] [Blazers] [Jackets] [Kilts]
[Sailor suits] [Sailor hats]
[Ring bearer/page costumes] [Shortalls]