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What is a Baby Christening?

A baby’s christening is a special occasion to share with friends and family. But, what actually is a christening ceremony, and what makes it significant? This article will explain what a baby christening is, its relationship to baptism, and the meaning of this special Christian event.   

What is a christening?   

Christening is a form of baptism in the Catholic or Anglican church. During this religious ceremony, the family christens or names a child.  

Christening originates from the Greek word “christos,” meaning “anointed one.” This word was used to describe Jesus because he was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit.   

Christening is important in many Christian denominations because it symbolizes one’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as their savior. However, though christening is a common practice in many branches of Christianity, not all denominations practice infant baptism.   

Churches that practice baptisms include but aren’t limited to:  

  • Episcopalian Church  
  • Catholic Church  
  • Roman Catholic Church  
  • Eastern Orthodox Churches  
  • Methodist Church  
  • Presbyterian Church  

In the past, christenings were done shortly after birth. However, nowadays, many parents wait until their child is a few months old. This gives the parents time to think about what name they want their child to have. It also gives them time to ensure that their child is healthy and baptized in the proper denomination.  

While people of all ages can be christened or baptized, christening generally refers to the baptism of infants and small children. As a significant religious rite of passage, a child’s christening often comes with special christening outfits and family celebrations.   

However, while christening is most popular with newborns or small children, the Church of England’s position is anyone can be christened at any age.

Each religion has different christening and baptismal practices that take place during the christening and baptism ceremony. But more often than not, a baby christening ceremony usually includes parents and godparents, prayers, and readings.   

Christening vs. Baptism   

Christening and baptism are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there is a big difference between christening and baptism. Most people use the term christening to refer to the baptism ceremony. But, in fact, christening is just one part of the baptism ceremony.  

Christening refers to the naming ceremony of a baby, while baptism is a religious rite that welcomes the baby into the Christian faith. In other words, baptism is the act of christening. It is the sacrament or religious ceremony where someone is baptized with water.   

Baptism originates from the Greek word “baptizo,” meaning “to dip.” A person is dipped in water during a baptism to symbolize their cleansing and new life in Christ. 

A christening usually takes place in a church, where a priest officiates it. Christenings are typically within a few weeks of the baby’s birth, while baptisms can take place at any time during a baby’s life.  

In the past, for many countries where the church was the primary record keeper, this was often the first time a new baby’s first name or Christian name was officially recorded. 

Note: Depending on the denomination, baptism and christening range from being the same to being separate events. Not all baptisms include a christening and vice versa.   

Baby Christening Meaning   

A baby’s christening is very significant to the family, but what exactly does the event mean?   

A christening is a religious ceremony that marks the beginning of a person’s faith journey. It’s an opportunity for parents to commit to raising their child according to the teachings of their religion. The christening ceremony typically involves the child being baptized with water, which is said to wash away original sin.   

In some Christian faith churches, the child is also anointed with oil, which is believed to represent the Holy Spirit. The christening ceremony is often followed by a celebratory reception, during which family and friends can welcome the new member of the faith community. For many families, christening is an important milestone that marks the beginning of a lifelong journey of faith.  

Christening vs. Baptism ceremonial differences   

The christening and baptism ceremonies can differ depending on the denomination. However, some similarities are common to most Christian denominations.  

The christening and baptism ceremonies typically involve the child being baptized with water. In some denominations, the baby is also anointed with oil. The christening ceremony usually includes prayers and readings from scripture. It may also include a presentation of the child to Godparents or other members of the Christian community.  

The baptismal ceremony typically includes a Profession of Faith, in which the baby or child is asked to declare their faith in Jesus Christ. The baptismal ceremony may also include a Confirmation. 

The christening and baptism ceremonies usually occur within a church setting, but they can also occur in other locations such as a home or park.  

The christening ceremony is typically less formal than the baptismal ceremony and may include more family and friends. In addition, the christening reception can celebrate the baby’s arrival and introduction to the faith community.  

What Happens Before?  

You need to organize a meeting with the vicar in your parish to agree on a date for your child’s christening. Most babies are christened during the main Sunday service. But if you want, you can have a ceremony on another day.   

You should expect to be asked about your child’s christening during a meeting with the vicar. You will also be asked about your Christian faith, your child’s godparents and what you want to happen on the day of the christening.   

The vicar will also ask for the child’s name. Make sure they know how to say it correctly before the service. They’ll also need the names of the godparents and confirmation that they’ve been baptized.   

You may also be asked to attend a christening class. This is an opportunity to learn more about the christening ceremony and what it means for your child. In some parishes, the godparents may also be asked to attend the class.   

Christening Ceremony  

As with most services, the christening ceremony begins with a welcome from the vicar. They will usually introduce the christening party, quote a bible verse and explain what will happen during the ceremony.   

The Promises   

During the christening ceremony, the parents and godparents will be asked to make promises on behalf of the baby. These promises are a commitment to raising the child in accordance with the teachings of Christianity.   

During this the vicar will recite:  

“People of God will welcome this child and uphold them in their new life in Christ?”  

Those present will respond with:  

“With the help of God, we will.”  

The Baptism   

After the promises have been made, parents and godparents will stand in front of the congregation with the baby. Then, the vicar often uses special holy oil to anoint a cross on the baby’s forehead.   

The vicar will then say:  

“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”   

They will pour water over their head three times as they christen the baby.   

What Happens After? 

After the baptism, the baby is usually presented to the congregation. The godparents and parents may also say a few words about their child.

After the christening ceremony, there is usually a reception. This is an opportunity for family and friends to meet the new arrival and celebrate their special day.

Baptism  

The first of Christianity’s four sacraments, the holy baptism is a sign that a person has been cleansed, reborn, and purified from sin. The symbols and indications vary depending on the denomination during the baptism ceremony.  

The following are some examples of things that are frequently included:  

  • Baptismal holy water   
  • Oil for anointing   
  • A light or candle   
  • A white garment or robe  
  • A cross  

The baptismal covenant, a declaration of faith that is customarily read aloud during the baptismal ceremony, also asks parents to promise to help their child grow in the Christian faith.  

Who can be baptized?  

Anyone who has not already been baptized can receive the sacrament of baptism. This includes infants, children, and adults.   

Adult Baptism  

Adult baptism is a practice where people who have not been baptized as infants or children choose to undergo the religious ritual later in life.   

For many, this represents a moment of renewed faith, salvation, or a desire to become closer to God. It can also be seen as publicly affirming one’s belief in Christianity. Adult baptism may involve full immersion baptism in water, pouring, or sprinkling, depending on the denomination. The specific method is typically less important than the person’s intention of being baptized.  

Nevertheless, it is often seen as a powerful and deeply meaningful experience for those who choose to undergo adult baptism.  

Why Parents Choose to Christen their Children  

The decision to christen their child is an important expression of parents’ religious beliefs. For some, it is a way to welcome their child into the Christian community and ensure that they will be raised with a strong faith.   

For others, it is a way to formally dedicate their child to God and ask for His blessing. Christening also provides an opportunity for families to come together to support one another during this special time.   

In addition, many parents choose christening because it is a treasured tradition passed down through generations. For them, it is a way to connect with their own parents and grandparents and to create a lasting bond with their child.   

Whatever the reason, christening remains an important ritual for many families.  

How do parents prepare for their child’s christening?    

Parents can do a few things to prepare for their child’s christening.   

First, they should reach out to their church or religious community to find a vicar or priest available to perform the ceremony. It is also important to select godparents for your child. These are people who will support your child in their faith journey and who will be there to help guide them if you are not able to.   

Next, you will need to decide what type of christening ceremony you want. Again, there are many different options available, so it is important to take the time to find one that is right for you and your family.   

Finally, you will need to purchase items for the christening ceremony, such as a white baptismal gown, robe, or other garments.  

How a baby’s name is chosen   

A baby’s name is usually chosen by the parents, but sometimes it is chosen by the godparents or other relatives.   

There are many things to consider when choosing a name for your child. For many parents, it is important to find a name that has meaning or is significant in some way. Sometimes names are linked to biblical figures or saints, while other times, they reflect a family tradition.   

Parents select names for their children for various reasons, including tradition, individuality, or modernity. In addition, some parents pick names that have a specific meaning. For example, they may choose a name that represents hope or love to express their wishes for their child’s life.   

Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a name that you and your family are happy with.   

Godparents   

A christening is a religious ceremony in which a baby is welcomed into the Christian faith. As part of the ceremony, godparents are traditionally chosen as sponsors and mentors for the child. In most cases, godparents are close friends or family member.  

They play an important role in supporting the parents and helping to guide the child’s religious upbringing. Godparents typically attend the christening ceremony, where they pledge to support and care for the child.   

This pledge is a symbol of their commitment to helping raise the child in a loving and nurturing environment. Christenings are an important tradition in many families, and a godparent or parents play a vital role in supporting both the child and the parents during this special time.  

Christening Celebrations   

When planning a baptism, many parents choose to invite friends and family to their child’s christening. Afterward, it is common to invite guests and congregation members to celebrate at a baptism reception, luncheon, or party after the baptism is over. Holding a christening celebration gives a chance to spend more time together making memories of this special day.   

Christening Gifts  

A christening is a significant event in a child’s life, and it is common for guests to give gifts to the parents and baby. In addition, christening gifts are typically offered by friends and family members, and they are often religious in nature.   

Common christening gifts include crucifixes, bibles, rosaries, and other religious items. In addition, many stores sell unique christening gift sets that have several of these items.   

Another popular option is to give a monetary gift that can be used to purchase items for the child’s future, such as a college fund or savings account. However, if you want to add a more personal touch, you could also give gifts such as an outfit for the baby to wear on their christening day, a special piece of jewelry, or a blanket.   

Christening Gowns  

Christening gowns are often white or cream-colored to symbolize the purity of the child. The gown may be passed down from generation to generation, or it may be a new gown purchased specifically for the occasion. 

Christening blankets, bonnets, and bibs are also common gifts. These items are often used during the christening ceremony and kept as mementos. 

Need a Christening Outfit? Choose the Cutest Baptism Gift!  

What better way to make memories on your baby’s christening day than by choosing a special baptism gift like a christening gown outfit that will look great and be comfortable, too.  

A baptism outfit doesn’t have to be too serious — there are many christening outfits that are both sweet and stylish. You can find christening gowns in all kinds of different colors and styles, so finding the perfect one for your baby shouldn’t be too hard. These outfits are treasured keepsakes for both baby and parents! 

Bebe Couture specializes in baby boy christening outfits that are soft and comfortable. See some of our most popular christening outfits below! Let us know if you can’t find what you are looking for. We do custom outfits for a small fee.  

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