It is our close human relationships which give the most meaning to our lives, we often want to share our joy by celebrating the coming of a new child or children into our personal worlds, into a loving family, a strong network of friends and into our community. In this blog I will be talking about ways that you can name or welcome children into your family and the many exciting and beautiful ways you can blend naming and welcoming ceremonies with other celebrations or rites of passage.
There is no such thing as a typical person or family
So why have a typical naming or welcoming ceremony? I conduct ceremonies for many different people and families; married and unmarried parents, lesbian and gay parents, single parents, adoptive parents, step parents, people who may be transitioning or changing their name for their own reasons, and many different religions and cultures, the most important thing is that you have the ceremony that is right for you.
A beautiful alternative
Having a new baby or child in your family is an exciting and joyous occasion and congratulations if you have become a new parent. Naming your child or welcoming new children into your family brings many opportunities to celebrate and to welcome them into your circle of family and friends, weaving in your hopes and dreams for their future growth and contribution to the world. Naming your child is not a legal requirement, neither is a traditional religious ceremony. Name giving became a tradition or rite of passage that used to happen in people’s own homes and in faith ceremonies.
Some people lean towards more creative and less traditional ways to celebrate children, a Secular Ceremony is a beautiful and meaningful way of celebrating your child, moving away from the traditional to create something completely unique and original whilst still retaining your family traditions, the ties that bind you, with a nod to the past whilst looking to the future, ‘Tradition with a Twist’, creating words that speak of your wishes for your child to take their place in the world, becoming strong and confident individuals. You can hold name givings and welcoming ceremonies in any venue or place that holds special meaning to you.
Naming your baby
What makes you who you are? Your uniqueness can be woven into your baby naming ceremony in many ways. Those of you who have never attended a Celebrant led naming ceremony are often blown away by how beautifully different and personal they are. Spending time getting to know you and your child/ren means that I can write a ceremony that is tailored to your family. You may want to include vows or promises to your child/ren, readings, poems, symbolic elements, etc. I can advise, help you, and include these in your ceremony, making it beautiful, unique and memorable for years to come. Follow the link to read what others say about my services.
Perhaps when you had your first child you were not aware that you could have a non religious ceremony? You may wish to include other children by having a joint naming or welcoming. I can weave in your thanks to Grandparents etc and they can be given a role too, perhaps a reading or a poem. Sometime Grandparents write a letter to their grandchild about what it means to have them in their lives and their wishes for the future, either reading it themselves or ask me to on their behalf. Other children, older siblings or cousins for example can read a poem or say something to the child. The possibilities are endless. You may want your guests to write their messages for your child/ren, something for them to keep for always, hang them on a wishing tree, write them in an album or scrap book or put them in a box or a case for safe keeping.
There may be people that you love who are no longer with you. Many people choose to light a candle at the beginning of the ceremony to honour and remember them. It’s flame flickering throughout the ceremony and symbolic of their presence with you on your family’s special day. The main thing to remember is that it’s your child’s ceremony and you can be as creative as you like.
Often parents like to retain the tradition of appointing adults and it is comforting to know that there are other people outside of your immediate family circle who take a very special interest in your child’s welfare and upbringing. Positive role models, providing advice, guidance, support and commitment to you and your child/ren. During the ceremony they usually speak a wish for the future and a commitment to be there for the life of the child.
But what are you going to call them? Supporting Adults have also been known as Soul Parents, Guide Parents, Guardians, Earth Parents or any other name that you might wish to choose, maybe that’s something that you could discuss with the people that chosen? Andrew and Steph called their supporting adults ‘Odd Parents’ because, well… they were just odd! (But lovely with it) Thus proving you can call them whatever you like.
Welcoming children and blending families
When people adopt they are often keen to mark the occasion by celebrating their children and welcoming them into their community of family and friends. Or perhaps you are marrying and one or both of you have children from a previous relationship? A beautiful and touching way of telling your children how special and important they are to you, could be to introduce them in their own celebration or as part of your wedding ceremony. You could make promises to them or say family vows that speak of your hopes and dreams for the future.
Some unique ways to do this might be to include symbolic elements such as Unity candles, Unity sand ceremonies, tree planting or anything at all that holds special meaning to you.
Making it unique doesn’t stop with the writing and your involvement. I will give you a copy of the ceremony that has been customised to your theme or colour scheme so that you can look back on your special day. Something to keep for your child/ren for when they are older and perhaps share with their children in years to come. You can also opt to have a personalised certificate signed by you and your chosen supporting adults if you have them.
Thank you Liz for all your hard work writing a beautiful naming ceremony for my baby boy! Everyone was touched by the wording and choice of poems! Thanks too for you help with the planning and on the day! Would highly recommend!
Charlotte Collins xx
You only get one chance to have your ceremony and as ours is not yet a regulated profession anyone can call themselves a Celebrant. Any professionally trained Celebrant will be more than happy for you to check that they are qualified. I trained with The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, see my About Liz page for more information.
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