We want to name our baby Penelope but we can’t decide on a nickname? Help!
Are you wanting to celebrate your baby’s name in a big way? If so, consider a baby naming ceremony. We’ll let you know what it is and how to do throw your own.
Choosing your baby’s name is a big deal.
A name forms part of your child’s identity.
It’s the title they use every single time they introduce themselves, and they carry it through life.
It’s such a big deal that just writing the name down on a birth certificate — with no fanfare or celebration — might seem like not enough.
To celebrate the importance of choosing a baby’s name, some people decide to have a baby naming ceremony.
But what is a naming ceremony? We’ll take you through the details.
In this article: 📝
A naming ceremony is an event to celebrate a baby’s birth and welcome them into the world.
As part of the ceremony, the parents will announce the baby’s name and its significance.
It’s a great opportunity for family and friends to meet the new arrival, and it can be a special way to acknowledge significant members of the baby’s community, such as godparents or guide-parents.
If a naming ceremony is part of your religious tradition, there might be some guidelines you need to follow.
Otherwise, a naming ceremony is not an official legal ceremony, so you can design the event however you’d like.
You could have a simple gathering at your home, or a fancy full-day affair at a rented venue.
There’s no single way to do a naming ceremony.
Some cultures or religions have naming ceremonies that include practices like readings, songs, and prayers.
But there’s one thing that always happens at naming ceremonies.
You guessed it.
Announcing the baby’s name.
The great thing about a naming ceremony is that there is no right or wrong way of doing it.
It can be whatever you want it to be.
A more formal naming ceremony might include some of these elements:
You could pick and choose from these if you wanted to add a bit of structure to your naming ceremony.
In short, no — not exactly.
A naming ceremony is not necessarily attached to a specific religion — although it most certainly can be.
A christening is a Christian ceremony that welcomes a baby into the Christian church.
At a baby’s christening, they are also officially given their name.
So, for Christians, a christening could perform the same function as a naming ceremony.
It’s common for Jewish families to have a ceremony after the birth of a baby.
For boys, this is often a bris or brit milah if the baby is circumcised.
But for baby girls and for babies who aren’t being circumcised, a naming ceremony is a way for the Jewish baby to enter into a covenant with God.
Jewish baby naming ceremonies go by many names.
Some are specific to the baby’s sex — like brit ben for boys or brit bat for girls — or they can be non-gendered, like brit shalom or brit chayim.
Whatever you call them, these ceremonies often include Jewish rituals, songs, and prayers, and also, of course, an announcement of the baby’s name.
Many Jewish baby naming ceremonies take place in a synagogue where a Rabbi follows a pre-planned program.
Christianity and Judaism aren’t the only religions that hold a ceremony for the naming of a baby.
When a baby is born into a Buddhist family, an astrologer tells the parents what letter the name should begin with, based on the exact time and date of the baby’s birth.
Within a month, the parents take the baby to the temple for a blessing and the announcement of the name.
In Hindu families, a naming ceremony can be held anytime between a baby’s 10th day of life and their first birthday.
One of the parents whispers the baby’s name into their little one’s ear, and then the name is announced loudly to friends and family.
Muslim naming ceremonies — called Aqiqah — happen within a few days of the baby’s birth.
During the celebration, the baby’s head is shaved and prayers are said, and then there’s a feast for friends and family.
In Pagan naming ceremonies, family and friends gather together in a forest in a clearing of trees.
Standing in a circle, the baby’s name is spoken aloud for the first time and they’re held up to the sky.
The baby is then passed around the circle to meet the community.
A tree is often planted, to symbolize the new life.
Sikh families have a naming ceremony as soon as the mother and baby are well enough.
The ceremony takes place at a Gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship.
There’s a reading from the holy book where the book is allowed to fall open at random.
The first passage on the left-hand page is read, and the first letter of the first word of the passage is taken as the first letter of the baby’s name.
The parents then choose the name.
Naming ceremonies are a wonderful way to welcome your new baby into the world.
They bring together friends and family, and they can be as formal or casual as you want.
There are many religious and cultural practices that you could draw inspiration from.
Lighting candles, planting trees, reading poems, and singing songs.
These could all add layers to your naming ceremony.
Or you could just have a barbecue and announce the name around the dinner table.
It’s entirely up to you. And whatever you choose will be right. 😊
And if you want to bounce about some baby naming ceremony ideas, our Peanut community is always available.