Solemn Communion Suits: Canadian Chronology--The 1940s

Figure 1.--Here we see a Canadian boy in his First Communion outfit in 1940. We are guessing that this photograph was taken in Quebec and that this is a French Canadian boy, but we are not sure. The photographer has chosen a rather gritty background for such an elegantly dressed boy. Click on the image to see a photograph of this boy a few years earlier.

Here we see Canadian First Communions during the 1940s. The images we have look to be French Canadian boys. We note a variety of First Communion outfits. The image here shows a boy wearing alack suits with large white floppy bows. White suits were also popular. Other boys wear a range of suits and sports jackets. Here we have a collection of school and church portraits as well as an individual portrait. Some of the boys are wearing sleeve boys, but it looks like many are not.

Unidentified Boy (1940)

The boy here in 1940 wears a dark suit with a collar and sleeve bow and an extra ribbon in between (figure 1). These dark suits were a popular choice for First Communion outfits. The background suggests he came from a gritty working-class background.

French Canadian Boarding School (1944)

One boy wears a short pants suit with back long stockings. A HBC French Canadian tells us about his First Communion during April 1944. It happened at my boarding school It was a boarding school for boys and girls. A reader tells us, "My First Communion took place April 1944, well before Vatican II. It was conducted at my boarding school . It was a boarding school for boys and girls. When remembering that time when we were 7 years old, the learning of the little cathechism was more something like rote learning. The most impressing was the list of sins to memorize and the fear of hell. We were not so sure to be saved by Christ Jesus and even innocent, we felt guilty. And the way to feel better was this coming day of First Communion. Oh the Great day!" It is interesting to compare the image here (figure 1) with the image of our reader. The boys are dressed similarly, but their environments could not be more different.

St Henri (1948)

We note a First Communion at St. Henri. All we know about St. Henri is that it was located in Quebec. I'm not sure if St. Henri was a school or church. We supect it was a church. Of course schools are commonly associated with c hurches, but churches do not always have schools. We think because the children are dressed differently, it probably wasn't a school. Schools often have the childten dress alike. We note both light, dark, and white suits. We also notice what look like sports jackets. Most boys wear short pants suits, but a few boys have long pants suits. We note the boys wearing both long stockings and kneesocks.

Unidentified Boy (1948)

Here we have an unidentified Canadian boy in his First Communion suit. It is a conservative dark short pants suit. We have seen many Canadian boys doing their First Communion in these dark suits. We are not positive about the color, but think it was black, but it could hve been navy blue. He also wears black long stockings. Long stockings were going out of style, but still worn by some boys, especially consrvative French Canadian families. Long stockings were often worn for warmth in cold weather, but in this case was seen as more formal than kneesocks. We believe that the portrait was taken in 1948, but are not positive.


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Created: 9:17 PM 4/5/2005
Last edited: 9:31 PM 9/14/2005