No-one can have too many ‘special’ days in their lives, and a new addition to the family is undoubtedly a reason for celebration. Although often referred to as ‘baby namings’ these ceremonies can take place at any time, so it is just as likely to be a two-year-old as a two-month-old who is being welcomed – or sometimes it can be a sibling group.
I am often asked if a humanist naming ceremony is a non-religious christening, but although there are similarities, there is one major difference. By welcoming a child into the world in this way, you are not committing them to be a Humanist, but are showing that you will support them in whatever path they may wish to take when they are old enough to decide.
Individually written, the ceremony typically involves family and friends and can be held at home or in any child-friendly venue. There are usually people who have been asked to play a special role in the child’s life – people who may be referred to as (among other things) Guide Parents, Guidance Parents or Odd Parents – and the ceremony brings into focus the significance of this wonderful relationship. There may also be other important people – such as siblings, grandparents, and great-grandparents – who would like to be involved, either by stating promises, reading a poem, singing a song, or perhaps lighting a candle. What is included on the day is the choice of the people concerned; the possibilities are endless.
Each family is unique, and therefore each ceremony is unique, but the common bond is that they are joyful and uplifting occasions.
There is no fixed boundary to the area I cover, but I usually conduct ceremonies within a radius of around 30 miles (50 miles for weddings) of my home in Woodthorpe, Nottingham.