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Shop our Online Catalog: First Communion Veils

First Communion Veils and the Rite of Passage

First communion is one of the holiest and most important occasions in Catholic Life.  Most children receive first communion around the age of seven or eight, about the time of Grade 1.  At this time they are considered to have reached the age of reason.  Age is not the only requirement however, as in order to receive first communion, these children have to have been baptised and have to studied.  They must be without sin and in a state of grace and they usually give their first confession about a week before, and if necessary they may to do prayers in penance if they have done any misdeeds or sinned.  Once they have been absolved of sin they can take communion.  While it is not a requirement, many girls wear first communion veils for this sacred rite of passage.

First communion veils are usually white to signify purity, humility and dignity.  The veils are often attached to a headdress that is decorated, again in white, with beads, flowers and such like.  In many families the veils are handed down from generation to generation, as are often the fancy white dresses worn for first communion and the white gloves.  Many of these veils are beautiful works of art, having been hand sewn, hand embroidered and hand finished.  The veil is said to symbolize the tablecloth worn at the last supper, and the dress the robes that Jesus wore.

First communion veils do not cover the face and they can be attached to a headdress or a barrette and so they can be worn in different ways, for example just covering the back of the head.  Veils for girls and women were required by the Code of Canon in 1917 which stated then women must cover their heads.  This was repealed in 1983 although many people still respect the tradition.

For many families, first communion is a very big event.  Oftentimes the event is shared with the extended family and there are also often first communion gifts of rosary beads, prayer books and other such things.  It is much like a big party.  Often people hire professional photographers for this event and many people treasure these photos of their children wearing their first communion veils for decades and pass them from one generation to the next.

If you are looking for a first communion veils they are pretty easy to find in the better department stores as well as on the internet through online merchants.  Many of the veils and the headdresses are still handmade and designed to be treasured items that will again be passed from generation to generation.  They certainly are beautiful, and doubly so when they are accompanied by a special fancy dress.  Much like the bride at a wedding, your daughter will look radiant as she takes her first communion, signifying the first step on the road to becoming one with Christ and the belief that she will share in his eternal life, quite an important  spiritual moment for all.

This article was published on Tuesday 24 November, 2009.

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