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What Are The Options For Great Naming Day Celebrations?

We had a recent Mom's Query on Facebook, asking about the options for non-religious alternatives to traditional Christenings; and our moms offered some great suggestions.

So if you're looking for a way to officially welcome your little one to the world, but don't follow any particular religion; read on for some great ideas, on how you can mark the occasion with friends and family:

Mom's Query:

"Hi Moms. I'm the proud mammy of a beautiful 4 month old baby. She is now getting to the age where people are beginning to ask about the Christening.
Neither my husband or I are religious and think it would be a little hypocritical of us to have a religious ceremony to name our child. However we would like to do some kind of non-religious naming ceremony, in the same idea as a civil wedding. Does anyone have any experience / advice / ideas for a nice naming ceremony? Thanks so much!"

Humanist Ceremony

Hayley You can have a humanist ceremony (my wedding was) it’s a lovely way to celebrate. If you google humanist in your area you’ll find something.

Nadine We had a naming ceremony with the humanist society, it was beautiful and so special, I highly recommend Susanne Kennedy as celebrant!

Ellen We had a humanist naming ceremony in our local hotel, where we rented a room!! Myself and hubby had a humanist wedding ceremony, and the same woman did both for us!! You make it personal with your own poems and songs, and they’ll help you with the layout as well if needed!! Google humanist wedding/naming ceremony and you should find it!!!

Naming Ceremony

Don't know where to start? spiritualceremonies.ie and abeautifulceremony.co.uk were recommended by moms.

Laura We used our son's naming ceremony as a guise to get everyone together, and surprised them with a wedding! Our celebrant had sample information but Pinterest has lots too. We involved the grandparents in the ceremony: Considering their massive role, I think that's missed in baptisms.

Gráinne We had Naming Days for our [little ones] ... We organised them ourselves using information gathered from humanist UK website: We brought on elements of ourselves and hopes for our baby, we chose specific poems. We lit a candle. We asked everyone to write a little note, and seal it in a memory box for when they’re either 18 or 21. We also had trees planted for each of them. Held them both outdoors in hotel gardens and then put on food for the families. It was the first such thing for either of our families and they went down really well! Most people commented afterward about how personal they were. Oh, and we picked guide parents too, like god parents minus the obvious god bit.

Trina We are having our naming ceremony in 2 weeks, we have a celebrant to do the ceremony, we have 2 guide parents to stand for her, a few words to officially name her and welcome her to the families and the world; a poem, and planting a tree to symbolise new life; followed by a bbq and a few drinks. Flowers, cake, balloons and a memory box for guests to write a note/quote for her to open on her 21st birthday......
Jen What a gorgeous idea! I'm presuming "Guide Parents" wasn't a typo? Cos I love that new name for them!
Trina No not a typo: I also love the name and the meaning behind having 'guide' parents. We are really looking forward to the day and making it as personal as we can to celebrate how special she is to us all.

Nicola My nephews had naming ceremonies and they’ve been lovely. One planted a tree and some family read some poems; for the other one, their cousins (aunties/uncles) wrote on a piece of paper what we loved about him, and read it out: Was very sweet. Whatever way anyone goes, religious or otherwise I think it’s a lovely way to celebrate your new arrival.

Other Options

Sinead Had a pagan naming and blessing for my daughter, in a beautiful outdoor spot that has great significance to us on a special date. Performed by a Druid. No gifts. Each person who came wrote a card with blessings/wishes/hopes/dreams for her, which I collected and have for her in an album. Food at my home afterward. It was very special to us and was just for us. Some who were invited didn't attend because they didn't acknowledge it, but needless to say those are not the important people in her life now.

Lesley We are just having a "welcome to the world" party where everyone will officially get to meet our little man! Tbh I've been to humanist naming ceremonies and even they were a bit too much like organised religion for me personally.

Shona We did a naming ceremony in the Unitarian Church on St. Stephen's green - their website has lots of info. It was very personal, the parents / grandparents bring symbolic gifts for the child, and the celebrant does too.

Sandra We had a welcome party with lots of kids and relatives. Hired a hall. Lots of games. Cake. We had a ball.

Religious Ceremonies

Though less people might longer consider themselves Catholic; there has been a trend amongst some for continuing to baptise children in the Catholic faith, to make school entrance less of a concern; as well as argument against this. Though the original query specifically related to non-religious options; we wanted to include some of this debate for you:

Miriam Before you rule out a traditional ceremony, have a look at enrolment policies in schools. The vast majority of Irish schools are Catholic, if your child is not baptised you could rule out a huge number of possible schools. I know from a personal perspective and a religious perspective it's not the right reason to do it, but it might be worth thinking about before you make any decisions.

Eilish: If he's your husband, did u get married in a church? Will your child be excluded from schools due to not been baptised? Not allowed make their communion and confirmation and possibly even married in a church themselves? Why put that many obstacles in your child's way in a predominantly Catholic/religious culture?

Lj: Because not everyone identifies as Catholic these days. While I can see the problem in relation to sending them to school; I don't think it justifies getting them baptised into a faith I don't believe in. If when they grow up and want to marry someone in the Catholic faith, that's their decision. There is nothing to say they won't marry someone from another faith, or no faith at all.

So what are your thoughts?  Did you get your little ones Christened, did you have a naming ceremony of some kind, or did you choose not to mark the occasion? We'd love to hear.

You might also enjoy Are You Hosting A Communion Party for tips on family celebrations.


About the Author

Emily is a writer, editor, blogger, and our Digital Content Assistant. She has three awesome nieces, and has accidentally worn the same outfit as them on at least one occasion. Emily likes making things, including hand-drawn cards, and a darn good chocolate cake. She still sounds very English, despite living in Dublin for the last nine years. More insight into the workings of her brain can be found on dancingcakesandsilence.blogspot.com.

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