What’s in a Name?
Naming ceremonies are becoming more and more popular as non-religious rites of passage for children – not just babies, although they are usually conducted within the first year of a child’s life. The opportunity to have a Naming Day means that you can still have all the preparation and celebration to mark your baby’s place in the world even if you are not a church-goer. The intent of a Naming and a Christening are fundamentally different, but the effect is the same – both occasions draw in the family and friends of the parents to honour and welcome their child into a community.
As a civil ceremony, a Naming gives you all kinds of options – there are no rules!
It can be light-hearted – a family barbecue punctuated by formality, or solemn – sometimes incorporating a tribute to lost children or grandparents. In fact, one of the most tender ceremonies of this kind I have done was for a still-born baby. Another, where the mother, barely more than a child herself, knew the significance of this gift to her child: a name, and a place in her family and the world.
Whether you name your baby after a favourite relative for traditional or sentimental reasons, or coin a new name for your family, a Naming ceremony gives family and friends a moment to pause and reflect on the significance of a name carried by a person throughout his or her lifetime. A name is more than a label: it is a symbol that characterises a person’s nature and actions and builds a reputation. A name tells a story.
A formal Naming ceremony is the first step in that story. It provides an occasion for celebration and contemplation of the future life of your child.