Queen of the May
My younger daughter, Lydia received her First Communion this afternoon. Her second grade class (they go to Catholic school) has been preparing for it for months. I love that her school maintains some traditions for this celebrations. For instance, several weeks before the big day, the class goes to one of those "paint your own pottery" places and everyone paints their own chalice, which the priest then blesses. After the First Communion mass, which is on Sunday, the school has a special May Crowning ceremony. All of the second graders are to come in their First Communion duds, and the 8th graders who are being confirmed are to come in their special clothes as well. All year long, the 2 grades have been getting together- they are assigned a "prayer buddy" - an older child with a younger. They attend mass together- and it's really cool, because the older kids kind of keep the younger ones in line. So anyway, on the day of May Crowning, the kids come all dolled up. Each family is asked to bring flowers to place around Mary- they haul out this huge statue- they say a few decades of the Rosary, they sing "Salve Regina" and the crowning point (get it?-couldn't resist) is when the 2nd and 8th graders walk up with their prayer buddy and the boys bring a votive candle and the girls all bring flowers to place at the base of the statue. 2 girls are chosen to crown Mary. It's all very sweet and old-fashioned. I love it because the 8 graders are so lovely- some of the girls are so pretty and they have no idea how beautiful they are. Most of the moms cry.
Here is a picture of Lydia in front of a rhododendron in the courtyard at her school:
It was sure something to see all of the little girls running around in their white dresses and veils before the mass. The boys were all in blue blazers and khakis- horsing around. I could imagine them all in about 15 years at a wedding- acting the same way, pretty much, only probably enhanced by too much keg beer.