5 touching alternatives if you're not too keen on christening your baby
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In an increasingly secular Ireland, many parents are looking for alternatives to traditional religious celebrations.
With the fear of Limbo quashed by the Vatican itself in 2007, and high infant mortality no longer a concern in the modern age, many people wait months or even years to formally name their children.
It’s become more of a cultural identity and family bonding session, with growing numbers of parents unwilling to follow Catholic form in what they feel is an insincere and short-lived dalliance with religious ceremonies. It’s still a bit of a touchy subject where schools are concerned, so always research your local schools to see what their policy is.
Humanism is huge right now, for all sorts of events from weddings to welcoming ceremonies. It’s so popular that most humanist celebrants are all booked up nearly a year in advance. You can have the ceremony in your home or at a local venue, and the celebrant works with you to make it meaningful and significant; light candles; involve grandparents, and so on. You don’t need to be a humanist, either. Learn more on www.humanism.ie
Celtic Priests and practitioners
A combination of ancient ways blended with Christian beliefs, you’ll find someone in your area by searching the net. Nature and the basic elements of earth are some of the guiding principles.
The Unitarian church provide rites of passage ceremonies to welcome the child into the community. It is a sacred ceremony, but you don’t have to be a member, nor is the child initiated into the Unitarian Church. It involves the appointing of mentors or God parents as Anam Cáirde (soul friends). Find out more on www.dublinunitarianchurch.org
You can have a naming ceremony anywhere you like, and ask anybody to do it. It’s pure theatre but you can completely customise the day and incorporate any elements that are meaningful to you.
Although many Christening ceremonies still take place in a church, they’re more about the rite of passage of the child into the world, and strengthening family connections. Godparents are chosen in the spirit of friendship rather than as spiritual guides, which would explain your slightly drunken brother or nutty single auntie being on the guest list. Just contact your local church (of whatever denomination) to discover your options.
Plant a tree
If you are a complete non-believer in anything other than the planet we live on, you can celebrate by planting a tree in a ceremony that focuses on life; growth and renewal. There are many cultures that believe in planting a tree for each child born, (in Jamaica they bury the umbilical cord and place seeds on top) so the child has a kind of ‘spirit guide’ in nature.