Swiss First Communion Country Trends: Chronology

Figure 1.--This First Communin group portrait wasctaken in 1945. The reader who sunmitted it thought it was either German or Swiss. The candels uggest tht they are either German or German-spealing Swiss children. We do not know if French-speaking Swiss children also did their First Communions with candels. Gernmany at the time was in the last throws of World War II. We believe that the portrait was more likely to be Swiss, in part because the children are so well dressed with new shoes. The girls wear the white junior wedding dresses. The boys wear medium colored short psnts suits with both knee socks and long stockings. Note that the boy who buttoned his shirt collsr wers the more formal long stockings.

We have just begun to assess the chronology of Swiss First Communions. Our archive is still very limited. We do not yet have information on Swiss First Communion in the 19th century or even the early-20th century. We note boys at mid-century wearing medium-colored short phnts suits with either knee socks or long stockings. Dark suits with white knee socks as we see in Germany seem less common, although some boys did wear black long stockings. he girls wear white junior wedduing dresses and white long stockings. Catholic boys through the 1950s wore their best Sunday suit for the special First Communion event. Cassock began to become popular for First Communion in the 1960s. The custom of wearing a cassock started in French speaking Romandie and quickly spreading over entire country, becoming the most common First Communion garment. Presumably it originated from the cassock worn in religious services by boys choirs such as Les Petits Chanteurs la Croix de Bois. Today the cassock is worn by both French and German speaking Catholic boys for First Communion.


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Created: 7:46 PM 12/7/2011
Last edited: 7:46 PM 12/7/2011