Naming Ceremonies have existed in our culture for centuries, in fact, long before the arrival of Christianity. Many parents choose to have a Naming Ceremony rather than a religious Baptism. This is a personal choice and allows for an individually tailored ceremony to suit individual circumstances. Civil Celebrants are able to provide families with a unique opportunity to welcome their child into the community of their family and friends.
There is a legal requirement that all births must be registered with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where the baby was born. This is the responsibility of the parents. The celebrant has no legal obligation or involvement in this process.
You need to be aware that the Naming Ceremony will have no religious overtones but that will not prohibit the child from seeking out knowledge of religion and its offerings in their formative years. It’s important that a child’s curiosity be supported and satisfied as they grow and that is where parents, godparents/mentors, close family and friends play a hugely important role in assisting the child in their spiritual direction.
Most Naming Ceremonies are conducted for babies or very young children but that should not exclude anyone of any age. Sometimes this part of a person’s life can be overlooked because of all sorts of circumstances and teenagers or even adults may wish to participate in this rite of passage. There may be circumstances where a person has changed their name legally and having a formal ceremony is a way of completing this. Blended families also choose to celebrate with a naming event.
There is no prescribed format to a Naming Ceremony but it generally contains the elements of an introduction, background of the family and birth of the child, meaning of the name chosen, a ritual which can be chosen from any number of suggestions, acknowledgement of the parents, godparents or mentors, grandparents, the naming of the child, presentation of Naming Certificate and a conclusion. The ceremony can be as elaborate or as simple as suits the individuals involved.
I can provide you with any number of suggestions to assist you in your decision-making of the most suitable way to stage the ceremony. There are numerous wonderful rituals from candle lighting, tree planting, sprinkling of rose petals, gift giving, a wishing well, time capsule, balloon releases, etc. Any number of imaginative rituals can be included to make the ceremony individual and special.
Ceremonies can take place anywhere. Many families choose to have the ceremony at home to work around a baby’s needs. If you choose an outdoor location, think about the guests you will be inviting and the number of children who may be attending and the obvious safety requirements.