With Covid restrictions lifted, Holy Communion celebrations are back at full tilt, so much so, that it’s hard to keep up – but we’re loving it all the same
• IT’S a case of survival of the fittest right now with Communion season in full swing. You’d nearly need to go into training for it, it’s that hectic. Definitely a spread sheet would be handy, if only to keep on top of the fake tan and blow dry appointments, and for who is meant to be where and when, and that’s just from my own perspective as a very enthusiastic guest. Combine the Communion invites with most families’ already busy sporting schedules every Saturday and we’re talking next level stuff. On random lay-bys all over West Cork you’ll see people changing into their ‘good clothes,’ and hoping Google Maps gets them to the Communion party before all the fancy crisps are gone.
• The full-on novelty factor of the bouncy castle isn’t as strong as it used to be – given they’re a ‘must’ now at just about every Irish celebration of any kind from an 80th to a Christening. But you absolutely cannot have a Communion without one. Young and old love them. The old especially after a glass or two of something fizzy, when they think there’s a bit of a gymnast in them. There is a video of me negotiating a particularly steep bouncy castle at a Communion last year that I’d pay good money to destroy. Let’s just say the way I looked in my head, and the way I look on the screen are a bit disconnected (in the way Cork and Donegal are disconnected). If I’m ever famous I fear it will come back to haunt me.
• Of course having the Communion party at home is a great motivator to do all the jobs that you’ve been putting off, or just ignoring. That can range from buying a new couch to landscaping the garden and everything in between. Our Communicant-to-be is only in juniors, but I’ve already been warned not to be too nonchalant about getting things done. It’s obviously too soon to start the batch cooking (or is it?), but there’d be no harm in booking the painter if only because they are in such serious demand. I’ll start by getting some paint samples and see. Anecdotally someone told me of someone who knew someone who actually built an extension especially for the Communion party (and got all new curtains). That’s impressive. I did say we needed to go into training.
• And that’s before we even get started on ‘The Style.’ Consider this a practice run for being ‘mother-of-the-bride’ and you’ll appreciate how seriously you need to take this. The general feeling is that you can’t be too over dressed, but you can definitely be under dressed and that will be a talking point when it comes to the Communion post-mortem, which goes on for six months. Book all the appointments you can get – tan, nails, brows, extensions, reductions, lifts, fillers, whatever is on offer, take it. This is not the occasion to go with your usual approach of ‘era, sure I’m grand, who’ll be looking at me?’ Everyone will be looking at you. Of course if you haven’t already booked the tan, nails, brows etc, forget about it, as they’ve all been booked since January. You’ll have to do the best you can yourself (YouTube tutorials are good for fake lashes, don’t take a chance on the fillers).
• I was thinking that it wasn’t always like this, but to be fair, it was, just without the bouncy castle. I made my Communion in the 80s and with two older sisters I wore a ‘hand-me-down’ dress that had bits added here and there. It was full length and bizarrely it had a hoop at the end in a sort of ‘Moulin Rouge meets Mother Teresa’ vibe. I also couldn’t figure out how to smile with my eyes open until I was a least 10 which I’m reminded of every time I look at the 15 framed family snaps from the day in the living room. Going by those shots, the colour palette that year was mainly peach and mint green, and perms were a big trend. And just big in general.
• The after party in the 80s was generally going visiting your relatives, and anyone you even vaguely knew, purely to get a ‘stand.’ Sort of weird looking back on it now, but it was the done thing. I think I bought a Sony Walkman and got my ears pierced in Hilsers in Bandon with my money. But my advice to the class of 2022 is to save their stash. Put it straight into the post office, buy some bitcoin or a cask of whiskey. The way the cost of living is going up, you’re going to need all of it, poor crathurs.
• Having said all of that it is a lovely occasion. The youngsters cute, gappy smiles and excitement at being in all their finery. My six-year-old has a serious aversion to dresses and has already said she’ll be wearing a white trouser suit. I’ve told her that Bianca Jagger look is harder to pull off than you might think (and with a veil? Dear God)… hopefully she’ll come ’round.
• Anyway, with the exception of a few emergency ‘checks’, I’m still mainly avoiding Instagram and am pretty impressed with myself too. The terror I thought I’d experience at not having it in my life failed to materialise, but it’s been replaced by the terror of trying to figure out childcare for the fast approaching summer holidays. I was trying to remember what we did last year – oh yes, WFH. As awful as that was, at least it took care of child minding even if it was just to throw some lunch and snacks in the direction of the garden/TV room every now and then. I was doing my usual moaning to my teacher sister who did her usual thing of reminding me I could go back to college and do the HDip. That’s hardly going to happen. My middle aged brain is a closed shop when it comes to learning anything new. What’s in, is in, and the rest is courtesy of Google. I’ll have to worry about that next week. Right now, there’s at least three Communions I need to be at.