Naming Ceremonies, Why Wouldn’t You?!
Many people here in the UK don’t know too much about naming ceremonies, and that’s okay. As a celebrant, I understand it’s not a regular thing here, but I’d like to state that it’s still important. People might not often know what I mean when I say this, but that’s okay too. I’ll do my best to explain what they are in this post.
Let’s Begin with Christenings…
Growing up, christenings were what was popular for most people. Old christening robes were passed down through generations, and there were other rituals too. An example was the enormous three-tiered iced fruitcake used at weddings. One tier was often preserved and appeared during the christening. This was, of course, after the baptism in the church, which might be responsible for the term “wetting the baby’s head.” However, that means something else now.
Anyways, this ritual meant people took a lot of pictures with gifts given to the baby. Some people still have those gifts and photos now, and they mean so much. For many, they are a symbol that their family has always loved them.
So, even though we have many more families that are non-religious now, I would think that Naming Ceremonies would also be embraced with Gusto. They are not. In fact, some families seem mortified at the suggestion!
Changes Are in Order…
Recently, I decided to try to discover why naming ceremonies are not so popular here. I didn’t get a direct answer. Maybe it’s because people associate them with American rituals like gender reveal parties or baby showers.
They can’t quite stand the thought of the embarrassing sentimentality or unnecessary extras that seem to come with those. It could also be that these families feel like a ceremony as religious as a “Christening” cannot be replicated and so should be left alone. Well, I’d love to change minds on that.
You see, the UK is changing a lot as a community. Many rituals people performed in the past seem to be fading out. This could be because we’re now a mix of people with many different cultures. Some of these may be strongly religious others, not at all. In fact, if we’d like to admit it, many of us are not so religious nowadays.
One thing that has, however, stuck with us is the importance of heritage. Having a community and belonging in one is also another thing we can acknowledge. So that means new communities are being formed all the time—each with diverse cultures, traditions and beliefs.
New Rites of Passage…
As the new communities I mentioned above are being formed, new rites of passage are being created too. I love being a part of these, and it’s one satisfaction that I get from my career. I firmly believe that we should find new ways to expresses time-honoured traditions that are compassionate and kind.
When it comes to childbirth, christenings are how it is done. They are about how special that day is and what happens next. They could also include blessings, well wishes and promises. At this point of the christening, the parents and close community also pledge to impart the important values that uphold a community. Some of them are love, compassion and tolerance, amongst others.
These are invaluable, and I feel we’d all benefit if they continued. So, we have to find new ways to interpret these particular rituals, especially when welcoming a new baby. Every important and strong culture values birth and acknowledges when it happens. So, we shouldn’t do away with those here in the UK. Plus, don’t we just love a reason to get together and eat cake? I know I do! This is where naming ceremonies come in.
Like other ceremonies, they are a way of acknowledging a change—a rite of passage to introduce a transition. It encourages the acknowledgement of the significant life event that birth is. This ceremony is important.
As a Celebrant, I have handled naming ceremonies that have meant much more than just a celebration of life. Some people have been through a terrible pregnancy and are grateful for a chance to be alive to celebrate. Some have been through traumatic labours or have even had long adoption processes.
You can’t tell these people that a celebration is not in order. They want to celebrate the joy of living, and they should! For them, it’s also about leaving some pain and sadness behind and getting to party.
So how do you go about a Naming Ceremony? I understand that since this isn’t so popular, some people have no idea where to start. This could also be another reason why they aren’t so widespread. Maybe people don’t really know what naming ceremonies are for or what they represent. So, to answer this question, I’ll start with what naming ceremonies really are.
How to Go About A Naming Ceremony…
For this, I’ll need you to picture bunting, cakes, and a lovely spread of delicious homemade food. Imagine the fun that you would have setting up a marquee in your backyard or a hired venue as a family. The magic and laughter that you can all share along with handwritten baby letters to be opened in the future.
But that’s not all, picture all the people who love your baby gathered in one place, ready to give their blessings. Think of everyone dressed in their best and welcoming your baby into the world the best way they know-how. That’s a start to a description of what a naming ceremony could be. The pictures from this event would be enough to last a lifetime and reunite families many years later.
This is a little bit of what naming ceremonies are. Your baby is ensured a sense of legitimacy and belonging. It will also instil the lovely human values of celebrating love, a new beginning and hope in your little community.
We’ve Been Through So Much…
The past year has been a difficult time. As a people, we have learnt how valuable how life is. How so much can be taken away in a little time. It’s been a sobering lesson for a lot. It’s almost like we had been insulated from these in the past but not this past year. This time, we discovered how significantly interconnected the world can be and how we need to celebrate each day.
So, we have a responsibility to our new babies and children to celebrate them. We have to show them how important they are to our community and promise to be there for them. Naming ceremonies help us to do just that.
They are a hope for the future and an affirmation of what is good about us all. It affirms in us that we belong together no matter what. That we will always do our best to flourish and thrive, no matter where we come from.
Naming Ceremonies Bring Us Together…
As a celebrant, I have seen the miracle of life and how it brings families together. I have watched people survive terrible things but come together for their children. It is such a hopeful thing to be a part of, and it means so much. There is nothing that could be more valuable than this—giving each other hope for the future.
If you’re interested in having a ceremony just like this, albeit in your own way, then please get in touch. Naming ceremonies are the perfect chance to introduce your child to the important people in their life. People who are going to love them for the rest of their lives.
This is important and even better, you can party and eat cake while at it. A naming ceremony is much more than just the regular get together, and I may be a little biased, but you’ll need the right celebrant there to make it the occasion it should be. I’d love to help you with that, so make sure you get in touch.