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Naming Ceremonies – balancing sincerity with fun

The arrival of a new baby or child has always been a cause of great celebration and equally the coming together of two families or the adoption of a child. It is important for children to feel loved and supported by their family, extended family and friends.

Winnie the Pooh

Finding the time or the correct words can be hard especially when there is so much else going on. By asking someone else to conduct the ceremony and indeed to help capture your feelings, hopes and aspirations for your child, it will allow you to focus more on your family and friends and enjoy what will inevitably become a special and very memorable occasion.

A naming ceremony can take place wherever you like and whenever you like. It is entirely unique and personal to you. You can involve all the family, grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters and friends. Life guardians, mentors or godparents can be chosen and they can make promises to support and play a part in the child’s life. Similar to a wedding you can include ceremonies within the main naming ceremony which make the whole occasion loads of fun and inclusive for all ages.

Here are some examples…

HANDFASTING
This can be a little complicated in the case of a baby but still very much possible and often the cause of much amusement as everyone gets in a bit of a knot literally when trying to bind a baby its life guardians.

PLANTING A TREE
This is really only possible when you are in your own garden but there is something very special and symbolic about having a tree planted in memory of such a unique day.

WISHING TREE
The silhouette of a tree with no leaves is printed on a large piece of card. All the details of the ceremony are printed underneath. The card is placed on an easel and everyone presses a finger onto a coloured ink pad and puts their finger print at the end of each branch and makes a wish

HandprintsSource: LeftTop, Bottom

CANVAS BLOCK OF HANDPRINTS
A similar idea to the Wishing Tree but has the potential to become chaotic but fun for those who participate is a Canvas Block of Handprints. A canvas block is placed on the easel. The canvas is blank except for a circle in the middle with the hand prints and even foot prints of the child. Already prepared are shallow dishes of pre-mixed water soluble paints in different colours. Each person puts a hand print on the canvas.

UNITY CANDLE
Naming day candles can be personalised and decorated with little flowers or left completely plain. The significance is no less. Parents, life guardians, grand parents can all be included by lighting their individual candles which represent specific hopes or aspirations before everyone lights the larger unity candle. There are many variations.

SAND CEREMONY
This is excellent as all children love playing with coloured sand and a wonderful way to include brothers and sisters as well as the parents. The blending of the sand represents the unity of the family. Once the sands are in the unity container they can never be separated and are forever entwined.

ROSE PETAL CEREMONY
This normally includes the closest family members or life guardians showering the baby in different rose petals similar to confetti at a wedding. Each colour can represent different qualities and aspirations such as friendships to come, love, compassion etc. A reading or poem can be read with words representing the meanings.

Balloon releaseSource: Left, Middle, Right

BALLOON RELEASE
A lovely way to finish a naming ceremony. Everyone can release one or just the parents. Balloons are a reminder of the joy and fun of childhood and can symbolise hopes and wishes for the child. Special notes can be placed on them. It’s a very jolly way to end the day when letting them all together with a big fat cheer.

MEMORY BOX
At the end of the ceremony once the balloons have flown away everyone can write their special wishes to the child and place them in a memory box which has been provided. Alternatively, special items can be placed in the box representative of the times in which the naming took place. There are no rules. It could be something precious, something symbolic, something idiotic, photographs, a letter or note. This box is kept sealed and then opened on an anniversary of their choosing perhaps an 18th or 21st and will doubtless cause much amusement in some cases but always a wonderful keepsake.

How did you celebrate the naming of your child? Did you do something unique to create a lifelong memory? We would love to hear your stories.