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First Communion Veils Gain Popularity

The first time a child participates in communion, the Eucharist, in the Roman Catholic Church, they wear their best clothes. In the US in the 1950’s and 60’s it was popular for children to wear white. This symbolized the newness and freshness of the first time meeting Jesus in ritual. Girls wore bridal-like first communion veils with white dresses and gloves. This is not a rule of the Church, but a choice made by the parents. The veils are usually short, sometimes to the shoulder and are attached to many different head pieces like headbands, crowns and elastic bands.


First communion veils are made of white tulle, often with embroidered flowers or shapes like circles or diamonds. They are decorated with ribbons, lace, diamond-like jewels and artificial white roses. The styles also vary. Some start from the back of the head and are puffy to the shoulders while others fall around the face. Some are very simple and some are very complicated with several layers and lots of decorations. If you want a veil for your daughter make sure it suits her face and dress. Online these veils come in a broad price range depending on style and manufacturer. It is possible to order them from Spain, Italy and Ireland.


There are instructions online for making your own first confirmation veils. It will be a lot less expensive that one bought as well as unique and you can choose from many different types of decorations. The materials you will need are; 1 yard of white tulle, 72 inches wide, more if you want a long veil, bendable wire, soft white plastic bags to wrap around the wire, 2 yards of white floral ribbon or any other decoration you want such as flowers, diamonds or bows. You will also need the headband, combs or tiara for attaching the veil to her hair. If it is done right, your child could save it for her daughter or niece.


The veil, worn for communion or by brides is all that is left in the western world of the custom for women to wear a headdress. For centuries women covered their heads and still do in some cultures. Until the 1960’s all Catholic women covered their heads when entering a church. Today, first communion veils are not always worn for first communion. It is up to the parents and child as well as what is required by your parish.


First communion veils are the symbol for purity and fidelity as a member of a church to worship God. It is a ritual that brings her into the adult world of faith. The Fourth Lateran Council in the Catholic Church said that children must be suitably dressed, which means they wear their something new and more formal. Your daughter, granddaughter or goddaughter may have something to say about what she wears. She may have an image of herself, how she wants to look at that special moment, and that is what she would like to remember.

This article was published on Thursday 11 February, 2010.

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