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    The First Holy Communion ceremony season in Poland – the evolution of dresses, suits, and albs [PHOTOS]

    First Holy Communion is a ceremony in the Catholic Church, a mass when children receive the Eucharist for the first time. Children prepare for the celebration one year before with the help of priests or catechists. It is the second most important holy sacrament after the baptism ceremony received at an early age.

    First Holy Communion takes place on different dates depending on the specific school and parish. In Poland, the first celebrations of this type take place in April, as well as in May and June. Children receive the sacrament at the age of 8-9 unless their parents decided to sign them up for the Early Holy Communion (Wczesna Komunia Święta). 

    However, at the beginning of the last century, childhood ended at the age of 12-16. The frames of the end of this stage were connected with the graduation from the elementary school by children. The First Holy Communion at the age of 10 was also a kind of another step toward adulthood.

    The outfit of the First Communion children has always differed from the usual – it is ceremonial. The tradition of albs, dresses, and suits has been cultivated. Children receive special accessories, such as myrtle wreaths, white bows, holy communion candles, prayer books, and rosaries.

    According to T. A. Pruszak (2012):

    At the end of the 19th century and even before World War I, the dress of a girl receiving her First Holy Communion was very similar to a wedding dress. The dress was long down to the ankles, tightly fitted at the waist with a wide tape. In addition, it was very built-up, so it completely covered the neck and hands. Girls had also a long veil, a wreath, white pumps, and a flat white handbag (sack). 

    In the second decade of the 20th century, the cut of the outfits was simple and modest. The girls’ hair cut short was a sign of elegance. 

    In the interwar period, girls from the city wore a white knee-length dress with a belt at the waist, a white veil that was held in place with artificial or real flowers, and white knee-high socks. The boys had white, grey, or dark suits, knee-length trousers, and knee-length socks of the colour of the suit. 

    In the 1950s, communion clothes were often sewn from the parents’ wedding clothes. In the 1970s, mums and grandmothers of the children often knitted additional parts of the outfits such as capes. 

    In the 1980s clothes were once again often sewn from the wedding dresses of the parents, which is why the First Communion dresses resembled the wedding dresses. The 90s are visible splendour – frills, laces, puffed sleeves, and accessories. The girls had to look like princesses. (mnzp.pl)

     

    Today children receive their First Holy Communion more and more often in albs. In some parishes, parents decide to buy outfits together so that no one feels bad. The unified albs allow you to avoid differences, which often result from the financial status of families. By choosing the albs, we can also be sure that we will not violate the principles of good taste, and the outfit itself will not distract from the spiritual dimension of the celebration. The same outfits necessarily limit the field to show off. Accessories, such as white gloves or a wreath in the hair, will give uniqueness then. However, if parents want their children to look special, they still buy a communion dress or – in the case of a boy – a suit.

    In some parts of Poland, children still put on traditional outfits. For example, in Trójwieś Beskidzka, Koniaków, Istebna or Jaworzynka girls wear tradditional highlander dresses, wreaths and specially knitted gloves. We can also find some gems made by talented artists, such as knitted dresses in Koniaków Lace Center.

     

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