If you consider yourself as non-religious but you want to celebrate the arrival of a new child, what do you do? A traditional church christening or baptism may not feel appropriate.
That’s why it’s great to know that there is another option which has been around for many decades and has become an increasingly popular trend of late.
What is a christening?
A christening is a religious service usually held in Christian churches and conducted by ordained ministers. Christenings are religious ceremonies that welcome someone into the Christian church by baptism. Baptism involves water being sprinkled or poured over the baby’s head and the act is the initiation into the church. Christians believe that baptising cleanses the child from original sin and marks their official entry into the Church.
From at least the 3rd century onward Christians baptised infants as standard practice, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone which is probably why you arrived at this blog!
What is a Naming Ceremony?
A naming ceremony is the ideal alternative to a christening for families who wish to mark the occasion in a way that isn’t religious. A naming ceremony focuses on the child and the friends and family that surround them and allows you to celebrate in a way that is personal and meaningful to you.
They are perfect for newborns, one-year-olds, or toddlers, but they don’t have to be limited to a child of a young age. The truth is that naming ceremonies can welcome babies, adopted children, or stepchildren, and for older children they can be seen as a rite of passage and a day of celebration.
So how do they work?
Each ceremony is individual and unique so you really can be as creative and imaginative as you like!! Ceremonies don’t draw from any one tradition or belief system so you have the freedom to create a celebration that reflects who you are as a family.
A naming ceremony will usually include some sort of symbolic ritual and there are many to choose from such as signing a certificate, foot/hand printing or even planting of tree. The list goes on and on and you can adapt them or even conceive one of your own for that extra personal touch.
The length of a naming ceremony will vary. They can be anything from 20 minutes upwards. They can be a stand-alone event or incorporated into another event such as a wedding or a vow renewal.
You also have the flexibility to play about with themes and locations. Depending on your budget you can explore carnival, fun fair or festival themes or host the occasion at a zoo or city farm. The options are endless.
Whilst a religious Christening would involve ‘Godparents’, our naming ceremony can most definitely include adults key to the child’s future. The name ‘Guideparent’ is most commonly used in these ceremonies but, as with all things celebrant-led, you are not restricted to using that title. Let your creative juices flow and come up with you own alternative Godparents title. One of the favourites I’ve heard is ‘Sparents’, always makes me giggle.
And where does your Celebrant come into the equation? Well, as your Celebrant I would make it my mission to spend time getting to know you and your family, so that I can tell your story and celebrate the moment in a way that really does reflect your family unit. A good Celebrant will help you manage the whole process and encourage you to let your creativity flow!
If you want more tips or want to talk about having ME as your celebrant, drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
image by Camera Crazy Photography