The process of naming a baby doesn’t necessarily end once you fill out the birth certificate in the hospital. The baby naming ceremony, one that officially welcomes a child into the world by bestowing a name to him or her, has existed in virtually every culture and every nation. “Recognizing a new life and publicly giving him or her a name is perhaps the most joyous celebration we can share with our family and friends,” says Charlotte Eulette, National Director of the Celebrant USA Foundation.
Once you’ve decided on a name, you then need to determine when, where and how to share the news and announce the baby’s arrival to the world. Here are several baby- naming tips made easy, courtesy of the Celebrant USA Foundation.
Explain the name. There may be nothing more intimately coupled with our individuality than the name by which we are called. Names are rich with cultural and personal significance. Tell your guests what your child’s name means and why you chose it -- perhaps you are paying tribute to a family member or to your ethnic heritage.
Acknowledge ancestors. Pay tribute to great grandparents and grandparents to highlight the continuity of family bonds from generation to generation. Include a moment of reflection for those who have passed on. Ask grandparents to offer the parents some words of wisdom about raising a child.
Make “vows” to your child. You made vows to your spouse at your wedding; now is the time to make promises to your child. Share your hopes and dreams for your baby, and how you view your role as a parent.
Include your child’s peers. If your child has cousins, invite them to take part in the ceremony by presenting a bouquet of flowers, a drawing, or a simple handmade gift to the baby.
Select godparents or guideparents to mentor your child. Explain to your guests why you’ve chosen these people for this important role, and ask them to publicly declare that they will help to nurture your child.
Ask the community to make pledges to your child and to children everywhere. It truly does “take a village” to raise a child, and a baby naming ceremony is the perfect time for all participants to recognize their responsibilities to the next generation.
Set up a “wish box” – but don’t ask your guests to write down generic wishes. Rather, inspire them to share something they hope to do with or teach to your child as he or she grows.
Keep it short and simple. Remember, your baby’s attention span is limited. To avoid too much fussing, keep the ceremony 20-25 minutes long. Any longer and you may lose the cooperation of the guest of honor.