Many children will soon be participating in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, or First Holy Communion, during which they will first receive Christ in the form of the bread and wine offered during Mass.
Many traditions combine to make this meaningful moment in the lives of youngsters even more special, and the tradition of Communion attire is one such component. When receiving the Eucharist for the first time, many children are decked out from head to toe. Girls don pretty dresses, and boys usually wear a suit or jacket-and-slacks combination. Although girls generally wear an all-white ensemble, some boys may be seen in blue, black or tan suits, depending on the preferences and requirements instituted by the church or parish.
The start of spring is a busy time for retailers who cater to families about to celebrate children receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Parents should get started on outfitting youngsters for this special occasion as early as possible to ensure availability and a wide selection.
• Know before you go. Begin by getting the clothing parameters from your church or religious education office, as you want to be certain your child will be dressed accordingly. Churches may prefer uniformity during the ceremony, and those that do will establish clothing guidelines.
• Make a list of popular retailers. Several different stores will offer Communion clothing this time of year. Small boutique shops, larger department stores and even speciality religious retailers may offer dresses and suits. Do some research online, and then visit stores in-person to see the merchandise and have children try on the clothing.
• Don't forget the accessories. While a suit or dress may be the primary component of clothing worn for Communion ceremonies, other accessories help complete the look. Girls may wear white gloves, a headband or a veil. Both boys and girls usually wear a special pair of shoes purchased specifically for the occasion. A set of rosary beads and a children's prayer book are often given as gifts for the sacrament. Make a list and shop for everything at the same time so you don't forget anything.
• Kids should be courteous and clean. White clothing shows dirt and stains quite easily. You should be sure children's hands are clean, and they are well-groomed before trying on any Communion clothing. Some stores may insist that parents or staff members help children try on ensembles to safeguard the clothing from damage.
• Consider hand-me-downs. It may be a family tradition for your child to wear the Communion dress or suit of a parent, grandparent or other relative. Rely on the services of a professional cleaner to brighten up and press the clothing so it will be in top form come the big day.
• Buy a change of clothes, too. It's understandable that children may not want to stay in the outfit they wore for the ceremony throughout the entire day, especially if a party or dinner is to follow. Purchase something else that is somewhat dressy but more comfortable for your child to wear should he or she choose to change later on. This also helps to ensure the Communion clothing will not get soiled if you plan to save them or pass them on to younger kids.
Begin shopping for Communion attire early so you have a wide selection to choose from and the time to make any necessary alterations.