We have begun to collect some information on Canadian First Communions during the 1950s. We have only a few images at this time and thus can not yet definitively assess trends during the decade. We do not see the dark suits and black long stockings that were still common in the 1940s as commonly. A few boys may have worn them, especially in the 1950s, but we do not think that they were very common. We see boys wearing regular suits, not ones especially made for First Communion. We also see boys wearing white suits. Short pants suits were still common in the early 50s, but long pants suits were also commonly worn by the mid-1950s.
Here we have an undated First Communion portrait. We have no information about the portrait, except that it was taken in Montréal, the major city of Québec wuth a large French Catholic population. It is not dated, we would guess that it was taken in the early-50s, but it could have been taken earlier. The unidentified boy is wearing a jacket tht looks very modern. We think that rules out the 1930s, but the 40s is certainly possible. These back drops were popular in the 1930s and 40s. The boy wears a dark single breasted short pants suit. We can not tell if the suit is navy blue or black. He also wears black long stockings, very common in Canadian First Communion portraits. Notice the long First Communion ribbon. We see that a lot in Canadian First Communion portraits.
We can not date thos imahe with any exactness. A French-canadian reader who sent it to us suggests that it was taken in the early 1950s, but did not give an exact date. There is a car in the background, but is not clear enough to be much help in dating. Note the dark suit and long black stockings. This was common through the 1940s, but we see very few French boys wearing this style of First Communion suit in the 1950s. The very early 1950s may be an exception, but we no longer see long black stockings by the mid-50s. This outfit suggests that the boy came from a conservative family. Note the beret. The boy is clearly French Canadian, but even almong French Canadians the beret was unusual.
Here we see boys wearing regular short pants suits for their First Communion in 1950 (figure 1). These were not suits especially for First Communion, but rather regular suits that could be worn for any occassion. The ones the boys wear here are mostly light-colored single-breasted suits, but some boys wear suits in darker shades. Notice pne boy with an open collar, another sign of increasing informality. The boys still seem to have sleeve bows, although we can not tell if they all have them. They all have long white candles. This seems more in the German than French tradition. I'm not sure these are French Canadian boys. The girls all wear fancy white wedding dresses.
Here we see two French Canadian children doing their First Communion in 1953. The boy wears a white blouse with baloon slevees. We are less sure about the younger child. The long hair suggests a girl. Perhaps she is his sister, coming along for the event, but not actially doing First Communion yet. Or perhaps she is a friend from school or church, only shorter than the boy. At this church the children do not seem to be all dresses identically. Pergaps there was no Catholic school. The blouse the boy wears was not all that common, but we have seen in France as well. Unfortunately we have no further information.
We note one Canadian First Communion service duing the 1950s. We believe it was a 1954 ceremony. The boys wear white suits. There were both short and long pants suits. This is in sarp contrast to the black outfits we note in the 1940s. Of course we have only a very small number of images in our Canadian archive. We are not yet sure how representative these outfits were. We note one boy wearing saddle shoes, showing that they were beginning to be seen as a style suitable for formal dress. The girls long formal wear white wedding dresses. The ceremony was held in May.
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