Most cultures and religions acknowledge the arrival of a child into the family as a cause for joy and celebration. The formal declaration of a name for the child affirms the person as a new member of the family.
Today, with fewer people attending church, a naming ceremony is an increasingly popular alternative to a traditional church christening. It also fulfils our deep-seated need for ritual and ceremony.
The parents gather with family and friends at home, or other place, to recognise, name and welcome the new child into their midst and the wider world.
A naming ceremony highlights for the parents the responsibilities they have in raising their child to become a responsible and contributing citizen.
A naming is also an opportunity to acknowledge the role of grandparents, other family members and friends in supporting the parents as they lead and nurture their child to become an independent adult. Sometimes mentors, sponsors or guardians agree to offer special support to the child, much as God Parents do in churches.
Readings that focus on children, parental love and human values can be appropriate at Namings, along with historical references to the child’s given name(s) and birth-date. Please see the Readings section of this site for examples. Guests at a naming will usually bring a gift for the child.
Other tangible ways of marking the occasion are to plant a tree or bush, sometimes with the baby's placenta or afterbirth underneath...to light candles as symbols of the path the child's elders will illuminate to guide the child...to release helium-filled balloons into the air symbolising that when the child has outgrown parental support, they too can be let go to fly without hindrance.
As a celebrant experienced in conducting naming ceremonies, I am available to create a relevant ceremony for you