Typically, holy communion begins in the Catholic church for a child about the age of seven and is often referred to as First Holy Communion. While the focus on attire for girls and boys should reflect reverence and respect, the tradition for girls leans more toward an all-white outfit. The white outfit--traditionally a white dress--is a symbol of purity and solemnity. Experts at New Advent add that the attire and seriousness of the ceremony hould mark "indelibly on the mind of the young communicant" the importance and significance of the occasion.
The style of white dress can vary with the preferences of the family and in accordance with the rules of the church where the First Holy Communion occurs. The dress is typically knee-length or longer, white with no additional colours, and embellishments limited to white lace, white flowers or clear beading's and jewels. The sleeves on the dress can be whatever length preferred. The neckline should be dignified and conservative if skin is showing.
In addition to the white dress, Holy Communion attire includes white socks and all-white shoes. In some churches, the service requires the young girl to wear a veil. While some churches view the veil as symbolic of the young girl presenting herself in purity to her faith, others include it as part of the ceremony itself. The girls wear the veils down for the first part of the service and lifted and laid back as part of the ritual.
Though not required, there are additional accessories that some families or churches incorporate into the young girl's communion attire. White gloves, a cross necklace, rosary beads or even a small bouquet of flowers can be added. In some families, specially engraved jewellery is a gift to commemorate the occasion; the girl wears it during the service.
Regular Communion Attire
Once a young girl receives First Holy Communion in her special all-white attire, she is free to participate in Holy Communion during regular mass services. After Holy Communion, girls are no longer expected to dress in the same formal, all-white attire each time they take communion. Attire after the first ceremony should be respectful for regular mass services at her church.
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