Tuesday 27 August 2013

We say 'napkin' dear...

Oh my! Bad parenting alert: this morning my eldest daughter (9) told me with some surprise that she had just discovered that 'serviette' was not the correct, official, or tactful way to refer to female altar servers.

...just not on the sanctuary please.

As my children have been taught to use the correct term for the item of table linen used for discreet ablutions (i.e. 'napkin' *) the only context in which they'd heard the word "serviette" was in conjunction with female altar servers (of which, without any guidance from me, they disapprove ; a conclusion they reached independently in our previous N.O. parish where twirling dervishes populated the sanctuary, tossing ponytails and waving at parents. No I'm not exaggerating. In fairness they also disapprove of baseball caps and mobile phones: they're funny that way, my children).

I confirmed that serviette is not the correct liturgical term for female servers, but is a non-U term for napkin.

photo credit: Adoremus in Aeternum

*for my stateside readers: saying 'serviette' in polite company in England is tantamount to nose picking, eating peas off a knife, or saying "toilet" (it's lavatory, darling).




  1. Refreshing to hear, thank you Annie.

  2. 'Serviette' is not a "stateside" term either; in the United States, 'napkin' is the correct term, and 'toilet' would also be considered vulgar in polite company. Some people here in Canada do say 'serviette,' though that usage fortunately seems to declining.