Namings and Baby Welcoming Ceremonies

Pages 109-111

Baby Naming Ceremonies: something more personal

Your baby has arrived safely, you've chosen the name, and you want a ceremony to celebrate this, with friends and family, which give them an opportunity to greet the new arrival. You want to state in front of them your commitments to the unconditional love and care, support and encouragement respect and responsibility you will continue to provide as a parent.

By expressing your choices, about when, where, who and what, you will create a ceremony that is personal and unique to this occasion. A naming on a beach at dawn on a summer's morning will be very different from gathering around a log fire in someone's home on a winter's afternoon. Decisions should not be made for the sake of being different. It is best to reflect on what setting feels right. Some people love the outdoors and may include a short walk through a favourite landscape, to the spot for the naming, but for others the most important factor may be to ensure that a certain family with health or mobility problems is able to attend, and they will therefore select a place, possibly indoors, to make that possible.

The time of year as well as the time of day will colour the form of the ceremony, if you take on board what it allows you to use on the day - snow? Autumn berries for decoration? Candles? Strawberries and cream? Kites?

The presence of several other young children means you need to include something for them - a quest? A treasure hunt? Gifts or tasks on the day?

In part five you will find suggestions for words and music to use and ideas for mementos of the day. At the end of part four you can read about other peoples naming ceremonies.

Do what these families did. Work to your strengths. If the baby's new aunt or uncle is a talented musician, find a way of involving them in the ceremony. If your neighbour produces abundant plants, herbs or flowers, get them involved in decorating the space. A calligrapher friend or desktop publishing enthusiast could make you special invitations or certificates. A colleague who loves model making might create a special gift or centrepiece.

Keep it simple so that you, if you are new parents, do not get too exhausted to enjoy it. Friends love to be asked to take on a job, so delegate. Make it clear that this is their gift to you - organising the transport, mowing the lawn in readiness, overseeing catering on the day, or co-ordinating accommodation for visitors.

Just by holding a naming ceremony, you express the importance of the occasion as your child takes its place in the community. By taking the time and trouble to create a special ceremony, you are already conveying how committed a parent you are.

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