What is a Naming or Name Giving Ceremony? 

The Naming Ceremony is a fulfilling and meaningful ceremonial experience for all concerned. It is an occasion where a new birth is celebrated and the child is welcomed into the family. Family relationships are deepened and parents become more aware of their responsibilities. So too, do the grandparents, and godparents/ guardians/mentors. The naming ceremony is an excellent occasion for the cultural expression of joy, hope and acceptance. Many people do not believe in infant baptism or for whatever reason, so choose this cultural celebration and leave the child free to choose or not to choose baptism later in their lives. In fact, all naming ceremonies are performed on this principle.

Most ceremonies are performed in or around the home, a meaningful expression of nurturing, love and togetherness. It is also the most practical and often convenient place to have the ceremony.

Informality is usually the order of the day. A weekend day is often chosen, usually, late morning or early afternoon, followed by refreshments or lunch.

Every aspect of the naming ceremony can be personalized to suit your personal situation. The ceremony must reflect you as a parent (one or two), your style, your feelings, aims, dreams and wishes for your child.

Ceremony Guidelines

  • The Introduction……………welcomes everybody and explains your philosophy in approaching parenthood and the life of your child in general. 
    • This is where personalization of your ceremony can begin by sharing about the arrival and the life of your child, thus far.
  • Acknowledgement of Grandparents/Great Grandparents and their role in the life of your child. They may do a reading, recite a poem, participate in a ritual or bring a greeting if they wish.
  • Reading No 1……by celebrant or a guest or parent. This may be a poem written by a family member or a friend or a favourite reading or poem or even the lyrics of a song.
  • Acknowledgement of Godparents/Guardians/Mentors and their role in the life of your child.
    • First of all, decide what they are going to be known as.
    • Historically speaking, the name, “Godparent” has a religious connotation. “Guardian” tends to refer more to a legal minder. A “Mentor”, however, is a person who sets an example, is someone to look up to, is an unbiased friend and is someone you can go to unconditionally.
    • I probably prefer to refer to these lifetime support people as mentors, but the choice is yours entirely.
    • They may do a reading, recite a pledge, together or one at a time.
    • They may also participate in a candle lighting ceremony and in the bringing of blessings or good wishes.
  • Reading No 2….. by the celebrant or a guest or parent here or after the actual Naming. The actual naming part of the ceremony…….the child is named and any nickname or family name used by the parents or family may also be used. The meaning of the child’s name may be explained.
  • A cultural ritual may be inserted here, eg candle lighting, blessings or wishes from all guests read, planting a tree.
  • Conclusion Summing up by celebrant and the paragraph relating to the choice of the child to be baptized or christened later in life read to everyone present.
  • Presentation of the child
  • Signing of Certificates of Name Giving, Grandparents, Godparent/s