Namegiving ceremonies have a history almost as old as the human race. As celebrants now do them they started to become more popular from the mid 1970s. A namegiving ceremony is not a baptism or a christening although it is sometimes referred to as a ‘secular christening’.
The namegiving ceremony conducted by a civil celebrant is a fulfilling and significant experience for all concerned. It is an occasion when a new birth is celebrated and a child welcomed into the world. Family relationships are deepened and the parents become more fully aware of their responsibilities. So, of course, do the godparents (also called ‘mentors’ or’ guardians’) and grandparents.
The naming ceremony also has a community dimension represented by the wider circle of family and friends. It is an excellent occasion for the cultural expression of joy, hope and acceptance. Some religious people choose the non-religious naming service to celebrate the birth of their child. Some Christians, for example, do not believe in infant baptism and so choose this cultural celebration; they leave the child free to choose or not to choose baptism in the late teens. In fact naming ceremonies are performed on this principle.
The namegiving ceremony also responds to the cultural and community need to welcome a child into the family and the world, to remind all concerned of the great responsibility involved in bringing up a child, and to recognise and appoint those who will have an important role in the child’s development.
The words of the ceremony are chosen to reflect the values of the parents and the family. The introduction is greatly enhanced if it contains personal details.
Adapted from Ceremonies and Celebrations © Dally R. Messenger
Fee: $300 in Melbourne metropolitan area.
Commemorative Candle (optional): $40.00 After candle has burned down the name band can be removed for placing in your baby album.