Did you know that there is a non-religious alternative to christenings? Naming ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular for new parents who want to meaningfully celebrate the birth of their child without the influence of religion.
Naming ceremonies can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. According to the British Humanist Association (BHA), who can help you plan your ideal naming ceremony, no two naming ceremonies are the same as it is a highly personal affair and differs for each family.
The main thing is that the ceremony feels right for you. Naming ceremonies can take place anywhere, from your own home, a park, to even a zoo, if that is what you wanted! Since each ceremony is unique, you can choose to do whatever you’d like to celebrate your child’s birth. The BHA suggests different symbolic acts, such as readings or poems, parental promises to your child, choosing “guideparents” (as opposed to Godparents), planting a tree, signing a certificate or writing in a wish book.
Sometimes, naming ceremonies are combined with different occasions, such as your child’s first birthday, to make the festivities even more special. There is also no “perfect” time to have your naming ceremony, since you can do it when your child has just been born, or wait a few years later to do it and you can even have a joint naming for siblings.
As you can see, naming ceremonies are extremely flexible and can encompass so many different things, but the huge freedom with these ceremonies can be overwhelming for some parents. The BHA can help provide some direction, as they can help you plan and tailor your perfect naming ceremony. If you choose to do your ceremony with the BHA, they will assign you a “celebrant”, who will guide you through the process and help you plan your perfect naming ceremony.
So, instead of having a christening when your baby is born, give naming ceremonies a try!