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Communion Dresses and What They Represent

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If you are Catholic, then you know the importance of first communion as it signifies a person’s first reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  This is one of the holiest and most important occasions in Catholic life as during the first communion a person receives the bread and wine that symbolizes the blood and the body of Jesus Christ.  For many families this is a very big occasion that is celebrated with extended families members.  First communion dresses for girls are also a bit part of this occasion.

First communion dresses can be quite fancy.  They are often worn with a headdress and a veil and gloves.  They are usually white, much like a wedding dress, to symbolize purity.  It is said that they represent the robes worn by Jesus at the last supper, and the veil represents the tablecloth that was used.  In many families, these dresses are familiar heirlooms passed down from generation to generation.  In the past they were often handmade and embellished with beads and embroidery as well as ribbons, again in white.  The fabrics used were usually very fine and included silks and satins and much use of crepes and gossa.

Although there is nothing that requires girls to wear first communion dresses or veils, many families choose to uphold this tradition.  It is a very special time as their child has studied for the first communion and prepared themselves by giving their first confession.  Most children are about seven or eight when they undertake this rite of passage, as it is considered that they have achieved the age of reason.  To receive first communion they must also be without sin and in a state of grace.

Many families celebrate this important passage by having a special dinner with friends and relatives and giving first communion gifts to their children.  They often hire professional photographers as well to document the event.  These photographs serve as a reminder of this important event and are passed down from generation to generation and deeply treasured.  When children are wearing first communion dresses, these photographs are especially beautiful and the purity and innocence of the child are usually captured very well.

If you are looking at first communion dresses for your child, you can find them in both regular and better department stores as well as through online merchants on the internet.  These days many of the dresses bought off the rack are machine sewn, but they are still very beautiful.  They are usually mid calf or floor length and they are also available at many different prices points.  If you are looking for a special dress that you will keep and pass on as an heirloom, you can also find many dresses available that have hand sewn beading and embroidery. Many of these dresses are made with gossamers and silk and satin like fabrics and sometimes the beading is done with special crystal beads and even mother of pearl on the really fancy dresses which are at times quite heavily embellished.


This article was published on Tuesday 24 November, 2009.

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