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First Communion Veil Mimics Long History

At the time in a child’s life when they are ready to accept the sacrament of the Eucharist, or communion, in the Roman Catholic Church they usually wear traditional clothes. In the US during the 1950’s wearing white became popular and today in some communities girls still wear white dresses and a bridal-like veil with white gloves. This is a choice made by the parents of the girl, not a rule of the Church. Communion veils are usually short, to the shoulder or shorter and come attached to many different styles of headdress.


The origin of communion veils is not known but wearing a headdress has been the custom for women for centuries and still is in come cultures. It is believed that the veil, for communion or weddings, is all that is left of this custom in the western world. In the Roman Catholic Church women covered their heads when they entered the sanctuary until the 1960’s. For girls who wear a veil for first communion there is a huge selection online and all of them are beautiful and some are expensive.


The communion veils are attached to the hair with combs, head bands, elastic bands, and tiaras. They are white tulle, sometimes with designs embroidered here and there. There are white ribbons and often cloth flowers, lace and diamond-like jewels for decoration. Some veils frame the face and some start from the back of the head and flow down the back. There are very simple veils with one or two layers of tulle, and much thicker veils with several layers for a puffier look. You need to choose a veil that is flattering to your daughter’s hair style and face.


If communion veils are still worn in your parish, or if you want to wear one but don’t want to pay the high price for veils, you can make your own that will be truly unique and beautiful. There are instructions available online. You will need: Bendable wire, white plastic bags, 1 yard of white tulle, 72 inches wide, 2 yards or white floral ribbon, needle and thread, hot-glue gun and two white silk flowers or other decoration of your choice.  You could also buy white headbands or combs and attach the tulle with a trim of flowers or ribbon. Your child may cherish this even more.


Communion veils symbolize purity and fidelity in worship of God. It also represents the child’s innocence and is like a bride’s veil because she is meeting God, in ritual, for the first time. It depends on your community and culture if you want your child to wear a veil. The Fourth Lateran Council in the Catholic Church only said that children must be suitable dressed for the occasion. Today girls taking first communion just wear a new “best” dress, with or without a veil. You may want to leave the choice of outfit to your child. After all, it is her big day and she will know how she wants to remember it.

This article was published on Sunday 28 March, 2010.

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