Naming Ceremonies and Celebrations
The joy of the arrival of a new baby in the family is often celebrated with friends and family, possibly with other adults offering to help guide the child into adulthood. You can have any kind of party, with or without promises, religious or non-religious. Here are a few options.
A Register Office service can be held anywhere, as long as it is licensed and the registrar will offer a standard service, which you can personalise with additional promises or readings. The service would usually include;
- Naming ceremony
- Parent's promises
- Supporter's promises
- Closing words
Often the parents sign a certificate to mark the occasion.
Humanists don’t like to include religion in their services, since they believe that all humans are equal. A Humanist naming celebration can be held whenever you want and wherever you want. It emphasises the role that the parents and family will have in bringing up the child. You can choose to include poems, songs or readings that match your hopes for your child. You can use a pre-written service or ask a humanist celebrant to lead the celebrations. You might choose to include symbolic items, such as planting a tree, signing a certificate or asking everyone to write a wish into a commemorative book to present to the child. Humanist services also sometimes involve friends or relatives acting as guide-parents (a bit like godparents in a church service).
While Humanists won’t include religion in their services and Registrars are forbidden from including it, an independent celebrant can do so, if that’s what you wish. When choosing a celebrant, look for someone who seems in agreement with your ideas about what you want for the day. There are several professional membership groups, which provide a directory of their members.
Naming day celebrations
You might not feel the need to have a service at all, instead opting to gather family and friends to celebrate the new life with a party. Formalities can be kept to a minimum and opting to hold the celebrations in a venue like Clevedon Hall means you don’t even have to clear up afterwards. Just relax and enjoy.
Naming children in other cultures
A ceremony called Namakarana Sanskar is held 11 days after the birth & a period of seclusion. In some Hindu traditions, the aunt has the privilege of naming the baby. Much later, when a girl marries, her new husband might change the name on marriage, to complement his own.
The Aquiqa ceremony is traditionally held 7 days after the birth. Parents jointly choose the name.
A Brit Milah celebration is held for boys after 8 days. For girls, there is no specific time but the naming often takes place on the first Shabbat after her birth.
Clevedon Hall Tips
One advantage of holding a naming ceremony or naming day celebrations is that they can be held whenever you like, such as in the summer, when there’s a better chance of good weather outside. A gazebo or marquee would take care of any concerns about rain, while still allowing older children to run around in the fresh air. If you prefer a celebration indoors, we have rooms of different sizes and the Orangery is ideal for drinks receptions.
It’s important to make clear everyone’s roles beforehand, especially if you would like them to play an active part, such as writing a promise or reading a poem, so that they have time to prepare something they feel is suitable.
The Christian tradition presents a certificate and also candles as a symbol of light to the child and godparents on baptism. You can do something similar by creating your own certificate, engraved glassware or decorated china or perhaps book of wishes which is presented by guests to the child.
You can save money by writing your own script for the service. As usual Google is your friend and you might find something suitable online. Celebrants will personalise a script too and this might be the right way to get exactly what you want, without losing the importance of the ceremony.
Did you know?
In some countries, such as Sweden, each day is a ‘name day’ when you can celebrate, along with everyone else who shares your name. For example, all Susannas celebrate on 11th August each year.
France is one of several countries where the state has a right to veto your choice of name for your child. In Valenciennes, a judge renamed a baby Ella, replacing her parents’ first choice of name for her – Nutella.
In Germany, you must be able to tell from your child’s name whether it is a boy or a girl.
In New Zealand, you can’t use titles, such as Prince or King, as forenames for your baby.
75% of Americans decide their offspring’s name before the child is born – probably due to pregnancy scans revealing the gender of the baby.
Congratulations on the birth of your baby. If we can help organise a naming celebration at Clevedon Hall, please get in touch.