Here in Spain, now is the season for First Communion: a Catholic tradition where a child receives their first sacrament of the Eucharist. In other words, the child is being accepted by God into the Catholic Church after attending classes to learn about Jesus with their fellow classmates the past months. Considering Spain is one of the most Catholic countries in Europe, this ritual rightly proves so, as pretty much every weekend in April and May is taken up by this modernistic affair that sees children all dressed up as if it were their wedding ceremony.
Firstly, photoshoots are mandatory in the process. With flocks of little people suited and booted on Plaza de España, one realises how suitable such a stunning place is for the occasion. These photoshoots simply consist of the child whose Communion it will be dressed up in their beautiful bride-like dresses, and the boys in dashing sailor suits, to pose as the photographer guides them around the lovely location. This seems quite excessive to me and those who aren't accustomed to such proceedings.
The actual ceremony takes place in church on a Saturday or Sunday morning, where all the family attend to watch the kid sing some songs and talk about their journey. The service itself doesn't take so long, yet the ambience is joyful and upbeat as families are present and proud.
Afterwards, the celebrations to follow are what really takes up the time and effort (and money!). Normally the family invites the guests to lunch after the service at a decorative and delightful restaurant. The set menu consists of a grand feast, to say the least, as well as plenty of drink. The impressive celebratory meal is followed by more socialising, drinking and dancing where you congratulate the child by giving them presents or money. All in all this modern take on a traditional festivity made me question how maybe these Communions can be seen as an excuse for a lavish get-together, but that is purely my own opinion after attending a remarkable one myself!
Had you ever heard about the First Communion celebrations? Is there anything similar in your country or your religion?