civil naming ceremony as opposed to religious christening(63 Posts)
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.
I can't really answer any of your questions specifically (never went through any ceremony with my DS) but the Humanists have celebrants who'll do naming ceremonies (link below).
Good for you for sticking to your guns. You'll find that the more, er, faithful amongst your relatives WILL criticise you because they'll think that you're harming the soul of your child by not having your child christened. Let it go in one ear and out the other - don't bother arguing. "He's our child and it's our decision. Hope you'll be there. Bye". Personally I would say, "I'm not having him christened into any particular religion, because I don't know what (if any) religion he'll choose to be. He can make up his own mind when he's older". But then I am very intolerant when it comes to other people's
fucking stupid beliefs.
Whatever you do, hope it's a lovely day
BTW: My son was never christened, or had any religious influence in his life at all, and has always gone to really good schools. The best primary was the local CofE one and he went there, even though I wrote "no religion" on the form. A couple of atheist friends have kids at Catholic schools too. So I'm not sure this is quite the problem your relatives are making out.
Thank you for your reply, ellie. I'll have a look at that link. To be honest in regards to family and friends views, they are more concerned with the education side of things rather than the "soul living in purgatory"...they are astounded that I should even consider not spending the rest of my days lying and jumping through hoops, and having to sit through torturously boring sermons, brownnosing the priest, and most importantly letting my son be taught something I so strongly disagree with. They are incredulous that I would not do this for the sake of my son. They make me doubt my decision sometimes.
Can I ask you about how you feel about your child being taught in a faith school? It's good to know that its still possible for a "non religious" child to attend...I didn't think this possible. Do any of the things he is taught upset you...for example, the religious stuff, considering you are not religious yourself? And if so, do you explain to your child that you do not believe? Sorry for the length of this post...its a subject I feel really strongly about.
I think that yearning after a naming ceremony confirms that you have a "God-shaped gap" in your lives.
We have had Humanist naming ceremonies for both DC - DD's was combined with her first birthday only a few weeks ago. I am also confirmed RC, but totally athiest in reality. We wanted to celebrate our babies and welcome them into our family and circle of friends. Not being religious doesn't mean we don't have feelings! My RC mum was very hesitant about our first naming ceremony, but afterwards said it was the most personal, moving, relevant and thoughtful "service" she'd ever been to. I'd really recommend you look into it - they no legal standing or anything, but having the Humanist celebrant adds some gravitas to the event.
I think that yearning after a naming ceremony confirms that you have a "God-shaped gap" in your lives.
Personally I think it is a 'party to cellebrate new baby' shaped hole.
You can do anything you like, you can have a humanist or other 'official' or you can do your own.
I don't really get this at all. Why bother? The civil naming ceremony happens when you register your child's birth, doesn't it?
If you don't feel the need for a baptism that fine, but why want a ceremony at all?
Just have a party in honour of your baby, if that's what you want. There is no need for it to be preceded by some sort of trumped up official/ceremonial nonsense.
Reckon what we'll end up doing is just having a big informal party this summer. In answer to those who don't get it, its so we can welcome our boy into the world and an excuse to get all our friends and family together in the name of our child. As for the "god shaped hole" or whatever that person said, I have 2 words: ha ha
but why want a ceremony at all? Er, because she wants one? The idea that the only meaningful ceremony we can have has to involve references to a god is ludicrous.
Hi, Lyla. With regard to the religious schools thing, it's tough, and you have to do your homework. There's actually no such thing as a secular education in the UK, by law there has to be some daily act of worship (a whole other thread!) so religion is likely to pop up somewhere along the way.
My son went to an absolutely fantastic primary school that was CofE & the only time there was any real religious flavour to anything was a once a term trip to the local church. This was balanced out with trips at other times to a mosque. There was no praying in school at all, just the occasional hymn at assembly. This fitted in fine with my "Some people believe....." attitude at home.
BUT - when he was in year 4 he had a born again Christian class teacher. This guy was an absolutely wonderful teacher, really loved by all the pupils - his assemblies were an "event" if you see what I mean. He did come on a bit strong at Christmas (his cards said, "Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!!" ) but I let that go. Unfortunately, he then told the entire class during a lesson about space that the world was only 6,000 years old and had been made in 6 days
I couldn't let that go - there's personal beliefs and then there's bullshit. So I called an urgent meeting with the head and the teacher and made it absolutely clear that this was 100% unacceptable & I didn't relish being put in the position of having to tell my son that his teacher didn't know what he was talking about. My closest mum friend, whose son was in the same class, was a church going Christian and she was equally furious about it all so backed me up. Teacher apologised and that was that.
So, be vigilant. You can't remove all religion from their lives, and you shouldn't want to. Christianity is an important part of our history & culture & you can't get a well rounded education without knowing about it, so try to see it on that basis.
(DS is now 16. Decided to be a Christian for 3 weeks when he was 12, got bored so became a Buddhist for about 3 years, is now an atheist. They DO make up their own minds if they are given the freedom to at home).
Thanks ellie. I totally agree with your thoughts about religion being an important part of history and culture, I'd just prefer it to be taught in an objective way, and to include other religions too. I will also be teaching my son that people believe different things and its up to him what he wants to believe. I'll be supportive in anything he choses (although admittedly I'd find it quite difficult if he truly believed in something that I don't) but I realise he's an individual with his own mind.
There's a really great local school I want him to attend, non denominational and has had excellent ofstead reports. If however, he doesn't get in, the only other non faith school is a really bad school, so I'm really worried about this and sometimes do wonder if I'm making the right decision in not getting him christened. But I just can't be one of those fake religious parents. It goes against all my morals. But then when I think about it all my other mum friends have lied about it and their kids attend the best schools. Am I doing the right thing??? Argh, THIS COUNTRY!
And yeah, people thinking only children from religious parents deserve a ceremony...well that is exactly the attitude I want to avoid my son from being exposed to. Hence not wanting to get him involved in the church. I repeat: THIS COUNTRY.
I'm actually a Naming Celebrant (and handfastings and funerals!). We don't do "religious" namings, but we do namings with meaning whereby the parents formally introduce their child to the world, "name" them, and have a bit of a party. If the parents have a spiritual or religious path, then they can call upon what they believe in to look after the child until the child is old enough to find their own path in life. If the parents are atheists then the ceremony remains completely secular.
It's a way of gently reminding any naysayers that the child will choose their own religion, or none, when they're old enough to make up their own mind, rather than forcing a religion on a child.
If the parents want Godparents/Guardians then they are included in the ceremony, and promise to watch over and guide the child in life. The Godparents are also called upon to give a gift to the child. This can be anything but is usually a gift with a meaning behind it - e.g. a CD for the gift of music.
If you want any advice then drop me a PM.
It sounds like worldgonecrazy can offer more practical advice, but on an "I've thought about this too" note - have you thought about doing a party-instead-of-a-ceremony type thing? This is something that my DP and I have talked about doing with our kids (if/when they happen!) - and I'd really like to call it a dedication party - just a time to gather friends/family, and have a bit of an announcement/toast about dedicating ourselves as parents to our child, and wanting to bring them up with certain values. I guess that's less about the name and more about the future, but perhaps that is what you'd like to put in anyway?
We had a welcoming ceremony. I guess my family are on the creative side and a few people wrote poems and asked the universe to be generous kind of thing. The celebrant read an extract from dr seuess and there was some jewelry of cultural significance worn.
Theworldgonecrazy: thank you for your advice. We have kind of decided that we'll do something ourselves and keep it informal, jus have a big party really. We need to keep the cost down and having looked at various packages, we really can't afford it.
Suggestions about reading and poems are a nice touch, thanks for all the suggestions its been interesting to read all your views.
The celebrant read an extract from dr seuess
I suspect this might have been "Oh, The Places You'll Go". If you don't know it, Lyla it's worth a read and completely perfect for a naming ceremony/party.
The biggest expense was the celebrant but she had married us so we felt it was worth it. The actual ceremony was under a big tree by the water with fish and chips and a glass of champagne with just our family.
That Dr Seuss verse is beautiful, just googled it and I very nearly had a tear! Although its quite long I think I'll prob use it on the day so thanks for the suggestion.
That sounds lovely, sleeplessinsuburbia, we live in a big private garden so I'll apply for a party with the committee to get a marquee set up.
If someone has a christening ceremony and isn't VERY religions my immediate thought is .."oh you'd like a gift and need to waste your friend and family's day so your and you dc who isn't even aware of it yet can bet the center of attention"
If someone isn't religious and needs a naming ceremony, my immediate thought is "oh you'd like a gift and need to waste your friend and family's day so you and your dc who isn't even aware of it yet can bet the center of attention"
Have a party if you want...but don't do a ceremony. They're boring. The only people who will disagree are the people who held them for their kids and even they will find them boring but realise they have to pretend to care about yours.
Nah, truth is I just want a piss up
What a nasty post, Piccadilly. Sounds like projection to me.
So, it's alright to have an even more boring ceremony provided it involves making promises on behalf of a child to a fictitious god? That's not all about presents & wanting to be the centre of attention, right - it just is if you take out the god part.
How very lovely.
Lyla Do whatever you want, however you want.
And yeah, that Dr Seuss book....I used to read it to DS when he was little and I don't think I ever got through it without a lump in my throat
(That is top secret information. Tell anyone and I'll have you, er, disappeared )
We specified no presents. It wasn't boring. My family enjoys each other's company.
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.
*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.
Love than Dr Suess poem, thank you.
Yet again, MN has unexpectedly made my life a little bit richer.
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.
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.
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.
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!
And as for stealing ceremonies , ours was nothing like anything the church offers. Welcoming ceremonies were around way before the church started doing christenings and baptisms.
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.
Welcome ceremony= celebration.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Ceremony! I spelt it wrong twice - sorry!
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.
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!!
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Cervix, it is my friends and family who are insisting I do something to welcome my little one into the world. Most of them accept it won't be religious but they still want to be able to celebrate his arrival. So that puts to bed your pathetic theory. See also the price of funeral wreaths which isn't technically a gift but something you are obliged (and want) to give. Either you're a troll, or someone who really needs to lighten up.
Ellie, that's really kind of you, I will message you as soon as I get a min (he's about to wake up!) Also will check out website.
Cous..Lovely idea that my boy will have something to remember relatives who have passed away.
He's awake, bye for now
Sounds like your friends and family want you to have a christening which isn't the same at all. Your headline was civil naming ceremony as opposed to religious christening and then you asked how it was received.
I answered your op honestly and then responded to further comments. If you wanted everyone to come on and say, aw it's your little bubs day! there is a site specifically for that here
Hope you and bubs have the bestest day eva! (hugz)
<hides weird netmums thread, and wonder wtf has happened to mumsnet lately>
I'l be having a funeral. I demand that I be celebrated. And none of your old religion, either. A good quality, entertaining funeral including country music, whiskey and a damn fine time. I'm quite sad that I'm going to miss it, actually.
My body won't be there, though, it's going to medical science. Whether they want it or not.
Just to be clear, DS2 did get gifts, and we were the centre of attention, of the people who love, care for us, want to celebrate us and enjoy being together. It was a GREAT party. Is it just me that loves getting special gifts for such occasions for the important people in my life? I really enjoy finding something personal and lovely for the people I love to welcome their children into the world. Not keen on lists, and never would do one myself, but love personal presents.
Weddings, now, I think they're bollocks. But hellos and goodbyes are pretty important to me.
Actually Piccadilly I don't agree with you either. A ceremony (religious or not) does not have to involve gifts. My DS was baptised (aged 9) as he expressed a wish to do Holy Communion classes (Catholic school with 40% non Catholic pupils) so needed to be baptised. I specifically told people they did not need to bring gifts and thankfully most didn't although one or two did bring little gifts such as prayer books (DS's face was a picture ungrateful little sod)
For a baby there is a long history of welcoming ceremonies the world over, they don't have to be religious and I've been to one or two humanist ones which have been a lovely "we are welcoming baby Ellie/Rose/James/Elliot to the world", yes I took a gift but this was because they were small babies.....it wasn't much, just an inscribed poetry book they would get more out of as older children. At one of them the parents wrote their own words and it was beautiful.
Personally speaking I think a naming ceremony is a lovely idea...it's not about having "a God shaped hole" (and I say that as a Catholic). It's about each person having their own views and ideas. People ARE spiritual beings ....but that spirituality does not have to have to take the form of religion unless someone wants it to.
Even if its just a party to celebrate then its fine....a nice celebration of a new family. Nowt wrong with that
Piccadilly you are either a troll, or someone who has a real chip on their shoulder. Or both.
My DS loved his day. And he wasn't a newborn he was a toddler by the time his naming day came around, and he still remembers it when we look through the photos. You make a lot of assumptions
Just wanted to clarify that my DC's were still babies at their adoption ceremonies so they had no idea what it was all about.
It really was a celebration of us becoming parents after 10 long years of trying and an opportunity to invite our friends and family to share a special day with us.
I don't really see any difference between arranging a naming ceremony or arranging a big party for a first birthday. Some people really go to town with baby's first birthday. I know people who hired caterers and were popping champagne open all afternoon! ( funnily enough it was another couple who struggled to have a baby and eventually did through IVF)
I don't understand why people are getting so upset about a couple wanted to celebrate the birth of their baby with a naming ceremony. How can that possibly offend anyone?
Piccaddily I strongly disagree with your
horribly sneering comments.
We had no gifts at my DD's day, and a charity bucket for those who felt they needed to give something. Our DD being young (10 months old) at the time means yes she is unlikely to remember it, but it is part of her story and will be something she is aware happened for her. That all her community came together to celebrate her arrival in the world.
Knuts that's a very nice way of putting why it IS for the baby.
Frog I don't think there is anything wrong with gifts - they can be a really lovely part of ceremonies and I also love giving them at christenings and other events
The reason we said no gifts at all was because DS was 3 months at his naming ceremony and as he'd been a long time in the conceiving we'd been showered with gifts by kind family and friends in the past few weeks. There is such a strong convention of taking a gift to a christening and we didn't want our lovely guests to feel any need to give again.
Just mentioned our no gifts rule to show ceremonies are about more than just presents.
She looks at the photos and video of the day now at 3yo and loves that there was a party about how important she is to us and how lots of people wanted to come to see her and share her special day. What's bad about that? It makes her feel important
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.
Not just the minor saints, the maddona and child image is pagan and (I could be wrong) Celtic.
Dh and I are Christians (actual go-to-church ones!!) but we didn't have a "christening" or baptism as we'd rather our children made up their own minds (and we both had a bit of a theological wrangle about baptism in early adulthood. The dc were dedicated but it was a simple 5 minute part of our normal Sunday service, no fuss.
I have a 13 year old son who I want to throw a naming ceremony for but need ideas please. Nothing too babyish or silly lol
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