baby naming ceremonies

baby naming ceremonies

Naming and welcoming ceremonies have been part of family and community life for centuries. Almost every culture has a ceremony or a ritual designed to celebrate or mark the occasion of birth.

"Taking time to value and honour the children in our world is an important ceremony worthy of our time, thought and energy" Wendy Haynes, Civil Celebrant.
Naming and welcoming ceremonies have been part of family and community life for centuries. Almost every culture has a ceremony or a ritual designed to celebrate or mark the occasion of birth.

Naming a child not only gives a sense of personal identity... but it also gives a sense of family and cultural identity. 

Naming a child not only gives a sense of personal identity, even if they may not be fully aware of it at the time, but it also gives a sense of family and cultural identity, all of which are important for a child's sense of belonging.

One of the wonderful things about a naming ceremony is that there are no 'rules' - there is no right or wrong way to conduct a ceremony. Your ceremony may involve just one person, a few people or a gathering of a larger clan or community. It may be simple or multifaceted, short or long. You may wish to include stories, poetry or readings, song, or maybe even a puppet show. Symbols and rituals, family customs and traditional ways may all be incorporated and, as quite often happens, there may be the preparation and sharing of food afterwards. You decide each and every element of your ceremony.

Taking the time to value and honour the children in our world is an important ceremony, worthy of our time, thought and energy.

The ceremony may be a simple dedication and honouring. It may affirm the values and beliefs that are important to you as the parents and/or family. Or you may recount stories and milestones, tell of dreams, or voice an expression of hope for the future.

The tradition of embracing a new life as part of the community began in ancient times, when early humans believed that a child was a gift from the gods and that it was important to give thanks for such a blessing.

In modern times, there is a much wider knowledge about the amazing process of how life begins within the womb, how the foetus develops and then, after gestation, is born. However, the gift of life and birth is still a miracle, no matter how much we know about it, and a delightful cause for wonder and celebration in the family and wider community.

Naming ceremonies take on many different forms, depending on the faith of the parents. Unlike a marriage ceremony where they are legal requirements to be met, there are none required for a naming ceremony. You will, of course, have to register the birth of the child with the State authority but this is independent of the naming ceremony itself. It's entirely up to you as to how you would like the ceremony to be structured.

There are lots of ways to conduct a special naming ceremony and many things to consider, especially when it comes to a ceremony that focuses around a small child.

Written by Wendy Haynes, celebrant and author of How to Create an Inspiring Naming Ceremony.

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