Your baby is finally here and, of course, you want to celebrate the arrival. But neither you nor your partner is particularly religious. Enter baby naming ceremonies, a personalized and relaxed alternative to traditional celebrations like a christening, bris or zeved habat (aka a Jewish baby naming ceremony for girls).
So, what is a baby naming ceremony? Basically, it’s an event where family and friends celebrate the baby’s birth and welcome him or her into the world. It’s an opportunity to announce your child’s name (and its significance, if you want) while surrounded by loved ones.
Naming ceremonies have no legal or religious components to them, which means that you can make them pretty much whatever you want them to be. You can have a naming ceremony in your own home, outside in a garden or park, at a hotel, in a community center—wherever you want. You can decorate with balloons or keep things simple. They can be long (think: all day) or 20 minutes. (Although if it’s on the longer side, you might want to consider serving food and drinks.)
Baby naming ceremonies can (but don’t have to) include promises, readings, music or rituals like candle lighting, tree planting or hand and foot printing. Then after the ceremony, everyone can hang out and get to know the newest member of your family.
If you would like something more formal or organized for your naming ceremony, you could work with a humanist celebrant—a non-religious officiant licensed to conduct ceremonies like weddings, memorials and baby welcomings. Together with the celebrant, parents create a ceremony that feels personal and meaningful to them. You can find out more about humanist celebrants here.
But what about godparents? Traditionally, godparents are meant to guide children in their spiritual upbringing, but you can still recognize individuals who are special to you during a baby naming ceremony. Some alternative names include: guardian, mentor, life guardian or supporting adults.
Naming ceremonies are meant to celebrate the new baby—but exactly how you do that is up to you. And the best part? There’s no need to buy a white gown that your kid will only wear once.