Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Guide To Christening Events

When your friends have a new baby, it is a time to celebrate. Babies bring so much joy and optimism into the world. Having the opportunity to be a part of baby’s official welcome into the church is a great honor. For those who are not familiar with christenings, it can be a little bit daunting too.

If you have ever attended a church wedding, you probably remember the official ceremony part being about promises to God and promises to the bride and groom. A christening ceremony is similar. Promises are made to the child by parents and Godparents, and promises are made to God. Hymns are also sung, and the proceedings can seem quite solemn and official.

When you receive your invitation to the christening, you will probably be invited to the church and a welcoming party afterwards. It is traditional to buy a gift for the baby to be presented at the party, much like a wedding. These gifts are usually made of silver and represent Christianity, like some of the gifts available at and tend to be keepsakes rather than practical items.

Attending a church for a christening is quite a solemn occasion so take some time to pick appropriate attire. Suits and formal wear are probably excessive, but a good day dress and trousers and shirt for a man would not be out of place. Women also tend to wear hats in church, but this tradition is starting to lose favour. Old churches can be cold inside so wear an extra layer or coat if you are attending one of these older buildings.

The baby is usually held over the font, which is filled with holy water. Whether the baby is a girl or boy, elaborate white christening dresses and gowns are worn by the child to symbolise the innocence of a child. Photographs are often taken, and these make a popular picture to keep on display for years to come. Baby’s head is wetted as a symbol of taking God and Christianity into their lives. Typically, babies like to have a good cry or scream, but this is normal and nothing to do with anything more unpleasant than wanting Mom for a feed most of the time.

Other children are usually welcome at christenings, so if you have children don’t feel obliged to use a sitter. While kids are expected to be well behaved, this family event is designed to bring the whole community together. The odd noise and occasional silliness isn’t entirely out of place. Godparents are named and make promises to ensure the child is taught in the ways of God and Jesus. They also make promises to show a good moral grounding for the baby. Traditionally, Godparents would take over parenting in the natural parent’s absence. This is unlikely to occur for legal reasons today.

Like a wedding, a christening party usually starts with welcoming the guests by the parents, and presenting the baby’s gifts. Toasts are commonplace too, congratulating the parents and welcoming baby into the extended family.

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