civil naming ceremony as opposed to religious christening

(63 Posts)
LylaLils Wed 02-Jan-13 14:15:58

I was christened RC and even went as far as confirmation in my teens. This, I was fully aware, so I could get into a good college. My father is Muslim and I grew up fully aware of the hypocrisy of religion as I saw it and still see it. My partner agrees and thus we do not want our baby involved in the church. Much to the dismay of family and friends who say we're jeopardizing our boy's future, as all the best schools are faith schools.

We're sticking to our guns though. We were thinking of having a civil naming ceremony instead. I wondered if anyone else here has had an experience of one of these? What was the cost? How did it go? Did you have to chose "godparents"? Did you regret not getting your child christened...in regards to the consequent schooling?

Also, any ideas of how to answer well meaning but interfering relatives? When they go on about not christening our boy? The only way I can think of answering involves insulting the church and therefore, them.

Thanks xxx

LylaLils Thu 03-Jan-13 20:57:36

Religious types, eh?

StupidFlanders Thu 03-Jan-13 21:45:49

We specified no presents. It wasn't boring. My family enjoys each other's company.

CrunchyFrog Fri 04-Jan-13 01:28:02

DS2 had a naming. The other two were christened, as I was not yet "out" as an atheist, although I was one. Lovely bit of hypocrisy that I am not proud of.

I AM proud of DS2's ceremony. He has sponsors, important adults in his life. They each read a non-religious poem. We made promises, none of which involved a deity.

Most cultures have ceremonies for birth, death, often for marriage. They are not the sole preserve of the religious. I never understand religious people who get so narked by it.

We had a wonderful day, lovely party, everyone enjoyed it and it was a proper welcome to the world. Beautiful.

Oh, it's had no impact on schooling as I wouldn't choose a church school if you paid me, and that was a decision made long before I was openly non-religious.

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 03:30:48

*um, I'm an atheist.. which is why didn't have a ceremony. But feel free to slag off the religious and then steal their ceremonies.

IceNoSlice Fri 04-Jan-13 03:43:37

Love than Dr Suess poem, thank you.

Yet again, MN has unexpectedly made my life a little bit richer.

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 03:54:09

Ellie some people have christenings for the gifts but as I specified very religious types, I tend to assume they do it to keep their baby out of hell rather than for the fine collection of baby Bibles they will acquire. iI don't think it makes the ceremony less boring but I can sympathise with the fact that feel they have to do it.

HollyMadison Fri 04-Jan-13 06:05:19

Just on the what-do-we-say-to-people-trying-to-pressure-us question: our DC is not christened and we say "we're just going to let him make up his own mind when he's older". Works fine as not been mentioned since. I find christenings highly boring unless I know that the parents are religious, then I find them lovely.

nooka Fri 04-Jan-13 07:14:13

Surely if you find ceremonies boring you just don't go to them? As for stealing you just need to look at the church for that - Christmas (Solstice /Yule), Easter (Spring Equinox), and a whole bundle of minor gods that became saints with their special days as the church expanded and took over previous days of celebration.

I would suspect that celebrations of a new life safely arrived go back a great deal further than Christianity.

vix206 Fri 04-Jan-13 07:48:37

smile I knew I should avoid this thread!

We had a naming ceremony for my DS and it was lovely. DH and I are atheist and as DS is too young to know what he is we wanted to celebrate and welcome him to our family without any religious aspects. We worked with an independent celebrant and had a fantastic day. We have a lot of friends and family spread out over the UK and it was a great opportunity to get them all together to meet our DS and have a good catchup.

We specified no gifts but I think everyone did bring something because they wanted to. A few of DHs catholic aunties and uncles weren't sure what it was going to be like but made a point of saying how beautiful it was afterwards, and how much they enjoyed it. We had poems, readings and DH and I made promises to DS that we had written ourselves. The ceremony took around 20 minutes and then we had an afternoon party. There was no 'piss up'. I find that very distasteful, the number of christenings where I hear the adults all got drunk afterwards is shocking to me.

If any of our friends had the attitude of 'this is boring/pointless/silly' etc then it would just be the case that they were not actually our friends at all. So their absence would not be a problem to us. We are always very careful not to be negative about religious ceremonies we are invited to and I just wish the respect for non belief would be reciprocated a little more widely. Luckily, as far as I know, my friends who are religious do respect our position on these things. But I do surround myself with positive people which always helps!

OP if you want to do this for your LO then go for it, it was one of the best days of my life and I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

vix206 Fri 04-Jan-13 07:50:24

And as for stealing ceremonies confused, ours was nothing like anything the church offers. Welcoming ceremonies were around way before the church started doing christenings and baptisms.

EllieArroway Fri 04-Jan-13 08:05:07

Stealing ceremonies? How fucking stupid. Having a "do" of some sort to celebrate a pretty big event is hardly "stealing" anything. I suppose you think civil weddings have been "stolen" too.

And I can see why Lyla thought you were religious - I did too. That kind of sneering intolerance is generally seen from the faithful, if anyone.

StupidFlanders Fri 04-Jan-13 10:50:06

Stealing ceremonies???

Welcome ceremony= celebration.
Baptism/christening= promise.

LylaLils Fri 04-Jan-13 11:33:05

Thank you all for your comments, I've loved reading your thoughts and what you did for your little ones. It's given me ideas and I've decided on having a little gathering for close friends and family. The Dr Seuss poem will defo be in there somewhere and I'll specify no gifts, especially no money or toys. If they really must bring something I'll ask for either food or drink donations (although not sure if that's a good idea, still deciding)

Everyone here has been really helpful, bar cervix haha what a killjoy.

Can I just say I was joking about the piss up?

BardOfBarking Fri 04-Jan-13 12:09:10

We had a welcome party. It was in our garden and a chance for everyone to catch up together and meet the baby for those who lived further afield. We had sheriffs (we awarded them their sheriff hat and badge on the day) who we had specifically asked to be a significant person in our child's life and to care for them in the event of our deaths (jolly).

I read a small passage from the velveteen rabbit describing how having a child had made me feel old and haggard and somewhat less attractive (the baby sick on my shoulder a note in point) but utterly 'real' and we explained our name choices. Then we drank oodles of champagne and everyone signed a wish book for our child, offering their hopes for her future.

It was a happy day when our 2 families welcomed its newest member.
Enjoy yours

Snorbs Fri 04-Jan-13 12:17:44

We had a naming ceremony for DS. It was a great afternoon. We asked a lentil weaving hippy druid friend act as non-denominational master of ceremonies but the theme of the whole thing was basically "DS, meet the world. World, meet DS." It all worked out really well.

We never got round to doing it with DD for a number of reasons and I've always felt that was a bit of a shame.

AngelsWithSilverWings Fri 04-Jan-13 12:39:05

As an Atheist I was never going to have a christening for my DCs. My DC's are adopted and after 10 years of trying to have children I really wanted to have some sort of celebration to introduce them to our friends and family.

Luckily when you adopt the Family Court stages an Adoption Celebration Ceromony for you.We invited family and friends to attend and had a little party afterwards. We had this for both our DCs and both celebrations were wonderful. We even had celebration cakes made with the children's new surnames iced on them.

It was not about receiving gifts and many of the people we invited told us how honoured they were to have been included in such a lovely day. We also saw it as a way of thanking everyone for the all the support they had given us through our very difficult journey to parenthood.

I would celebrate the arrival of your children in any way you want to. A naming ceromony would be lovely.

AngelsWithSilverWings Fri 04-Jan-13 12:43:36

Ceremony! I spelt it wrong twice - sorry!

FarelyKnuts Fri 04-Jan-13 12:56:00

We had a naming day for our DD. Held it at a local Celtic gardens. We asked a very kind friend of ours to "officiate".
We had guide parents who read a relevant piece of prose/poetry about their commitments to our DD (that they chose themselves). Both my DP and I read a piece of prose/poetry about what it means for us to have her. Everyone there had balloons to release and we had a tree which was planted at the gardens as her dedication to the planet/earth etc.
It was a fabulous day, everyone wrote messages in her book to welcome her to the world and then we had a big buffet style party.

vix206 Fri 04-Jan-13 13:31:01

Lyla hopefully you realised I wasn't having a crack at you about the piss up! We only had one couple say they wouldn't come. My catholic cousin and her husband who, when invited, rang my mum to ask if there was a free bar. When she said no, they said they wouldn't bother coming!! shock

LylaLils Fri 04-Jan-13 14:11:39

Haha its ok, sometimes it gets a bit heated and serious on here and I thought I'd just throw it in! Don't get me wrong, I've already asked my mum if she'll mind my son so I can have a drink but I won't be going mad...in the short 3 months he's been here I've learnt the hard way that its not worth the hangover. Can't believe your cousins refused to come cos no free bar though bloody hell.

Planting a tree is a really nice idea knutts, I may have to steal it! Also a book so everyone can write in it is a good idea.

I'm just looking forward to having all my friends and family in the same place at the same time, and I think its important for my son to know that we did something special for him.

The view that only children from religious families (I stress that they are children from religious families, as in my opinion, it is impossible for a child to be religious. It's something that is forced on them) deserve a welcome celebration, is frankly ludicrous, hurtful and harmful. And to insinuate that people only do it for the gifts is pathetic, and reflects only on the person with that view (I'm talking to you, cervix!)

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 14:25:11

No, trust me all the people saying "oh my friends don't think that way" are talking a load of shit. Precisely because they are your friends they will quietly go to your ceremony and not tell you they think you are being ridiculous.

With the exception of the adoption ceremony mentioned above where the children might actually know what is going on..it is a party for you.

Don't pretend it isn't, christ at least be honest. Your newborn does not give a fuck and if anything will be stressed all day by the change in their schedule and too many people. Why not have a first birthday for your baby instead? Something they can appreciate.

Wish people would just be honest.

EllieArroway Fri 04-Jan-13 14:36:00

Picadilly Would love to know on what basis you feel justified on speaking on behalf of absolutely every friend of every person who has had a non-religious naming ceremony/event? How arrogant.

I suppose there's no point in funerals too? I mean, the dead person doesn't give a shite, and it's really just an excuse to dress up in black (so slimming!) and be seen dabbing delicately at our eyes with lace hankies, eh?

Your opinion is your opinion - but don't presume to tell us that it's the opinion of everyone else. It's not.

Welovecouscous Fri 04-Jan-13 14:38:26

We had a naming ceremony for DS and it was a great day. We had it at a lovely old hotel and they did us a very good deal on catering and we specified absolutely no gifts as so many people had already given us gifts when he was born.

The ceremony meant older relatives travelled a long way to meet him and I asked everyone to write a letter to him so he can see those when he is older.

We wrote our own promises to him and I have added those to his album.

I know it sounds morbid, but my mother's mother died when she was very small and I've always wanted DS to have written material showing him how much we live him just in case the worst happens as he is too little to remember us.

EllieArroway Fri 04-Jan-13 14:42:16

Lyla

I'm in the process of setting up a website to write bespoke poems for people. Don't worry - not touting for business! But I'm always after a bit of practice, and writing stuff for naming ceremonies is the kind of thing I'm hoping to be doing.

Would love to have a go at putting something together for you (for free, just to be clear). You're under no obligation to use if it doesn't suit, but I'd like to try.

PM me some details if you're interested, then give me a few days. Have already written some private stuff for other MNers and they went down well.

Here's another of my efforts:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/a1639886-who-is-good-with-words

PiccadillyCervix Fri 04-Jan-13 14:43:58

NO, I wasn't the one who said because they are my friends they must feel exactly as I feel. That was several other posters. Don't be ridiculous. I said your friends won't be able to say otherwise....becuse they are your friends.

Do I think funerals are a waste of time? Yes, me and dh have discussed that I won't be having a funeral for him and he can do whatever he likes for me as I won't be there to see it. Although last I checked funerals wern't a gift giving occasion so I tend to not be too cynical about others having them.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now