If you’re not religious, you may not have considered christening your new baby. You would not be alone! Or maybe you’re a ‘non-practicing”-something-or-another and feel just a touch uncomfortable with it all yet don’t want to damn your sweet child to some horrible fate for forgoing it completely. Consider re-framing this opportunity to celebrate the arrival of your baby and tweak the elements to suit you and your family. Bring “Christening” into the new millennium.
We use marriage celebrants to make Wedding Ceremonies more meaningful and intimate so why not use them for a christening? Take bare feet and floral headdresses to this precious time and create a unique event for yourself and your loved ones.
We sometimes forget that babies are a special time in the lives of those around us as well as the parents. Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles and Friends unconsciously keep secret their heart’s desire to be part of a baby’s life because they don’t know how to get involved without the invitation. We no longer live in an era where people “drop by”. If you want your child to be brought up by the village, then it’s important to start it out right by involving the village as early as possible. What better way to do so, then with a celebration?
You might not be a Boho parent. Whatever your style or lifestyle, there will be a way to create joy filled event to suit. Just the act of asking yourself what an authentic Christening would look like for you will put a new spin on things. Some traditional elements, you may want to keep whilst others can be dispensed with. It is the new millennium after all.
Greek families often have amazing Christenings that are luxuriously catered for and almost as big as their weddings! In our family, my mum and nan took each baby in turn and christened them over the kitchen sink. They didn’t think to tell me for years afterward and in hindsight I would have loved to have been there. Just the thought of my dear mother and grandmother, neither of whom were religious, setting a clear intention for each child, dedicating them to a Higher Purpose and calling a blessing is comforting to me.
Ritual is a healthy and important part of society and all too rare in our modern lives. They create a sense of stability and continuity, help us deal with change and reinforce values such as family, intention, spiritualism, renewal and connection. Christenings are a perfect opportunity to engage in a joyful and happy ritual. Some other ideas to help you think about christenings in a new light …
- More godparents. Whilst there are fewer christenings happening in the modern age, there are more godparents. Some people are even choosing up to six or eight godparents. Even churches are allowing more people to be nominated godparents. In a secular sense, these people are being invited to look out for your child and take a part in mentoring them and being there for them.
- Consider creating your own name for the event. A “Naming Ceremony” is just one example of an alternative name. Another might be a “Welcome Party”.
- Just like in Wedding Vows where the old fashioned “honour and obey” is giving way to fresh prose, often written by the participants themselves, christening words can be a heartfelt declaration of gratitude and intention that you choose. You could even ask others in your circle to say a few words as a way of including them in the event. Making the language more accessible will also be an inclusive thing to do.
- Water is a Christian symbol of divine life, purity and the cleansing of original sin. In Christenings, it the holy water also carries the symbol of grace and the life we are given. These days it’s often warmed so the baby isn’t shrieking throughout the process. That’s a good move! A more new-age representation still speaks of life, renewal and regeneration. What symbols would you like to include? Is there an animal totem that means something to you? Or other little signs that came to you in pregnancy or preparation for your newborn? What messages would like to communicate through the use of symbols? And in what ways? You can use your symbols in subtle ways or you make them a major theme of the party décor.
- Take it down a peg. Instead of having a full blown Church Christening, many priests and pastors are happy to provide a blessing. This might be a nice way to include a reference to your faith and upbringing without having the full formality of the Church imposed on you and your guests.
- A Christening gown is no longer necessary. There will be photos of this occasion so it’s definitely worth dressing in something a little speche.
- You can see that there are plenty of ways to re-think Christenings. Instead of ditching it altogether have one on your terms and celebrate life and the arrival of your treasure. There’s too few chances to come together for reasons as full of joy and potential as the arrival of a new baby!