We just had this discussion with a certain someone in our household who translated, “This is a special day for you” to mean, “A day in which I am queen of the universe, and oh yes, Baby Sister, you may do all my chores this weekend, starting with making my bed!”
1.) It is a special day for **all **the first communicants. There are four parishes having first communion this weekend. You are one of about 200 kids.
2.) God does not care what you wear to First Communion, as long as it is modest; but He does care about how your heart looks.
3.) You have a nice dress and veil. But your soul and heart should look as nice as the dress and veil.
4.) Change your attitude quickly, or you will be making your first communion in your plain old Sunday dress, ala a famous saint (I want to say St. Julie Brilliart, but I’m not sure. I just told her a famous saint).
This has been a tradition far back to at least the 1700s, from what I can fathom through very brief research, girls in veils and white dresses. They were much plainer, the veil often being gossamer or silk. Remember, not only did all women and girls wear a head covering (NOT always a veil- I am so tired of hearing that innacuracy), but First Communion generally came around age 12 or so, until Pius X changed it to include the age of reason at 7 or so. The white garment goes back even further, back to the days of the Apostles.
In a culture such as ours where more tends to be considered “better” and where there are sadly fewer children brought into the world, excess can be a problem with milestones, even religious ones. There were some very ornate dresses made of white linen and heavy embroidery, long full skirts, some of them made in Mexico and very beautiful.
BTW- We had a really good set of parents in this communion class. Nobody had to wear the white sweaters we keep on hand because of spaghetti straps or strapless dresses!!! Three little girls wore their mother’s dresses (from when they were little girls), and several wore dresses they’d already worn as flower girls in weddings or their older sisters’ dresses. Besides veils, there were also fancy headbands and wreaths of flowers (real and artificial).
Nobody snapped photos outside of the time to do it, and not during Mass.
Only two little boys wore complete white suits. There were several whose parents opted for the boys’ normal suits with white bands tied in a bow around one arm- very quaint and charming. No boy looked as if he’d been out disco-ing all night.