A baby naming ceremony is, in many cultures, traditionally done when the baby is about a year old, though many people prefer to do it as soon as possible after the child’s birth. The reason for the year wait is simply because, until recently, most babies didn’t make it through their first year. If they did, they had a pretty good chance of making it to adulthood. This is not to say that the baby wouldn’t have a name before it was a year old, of course it would. A naming ceremony is the child’s official introduction into the family, clan or church. It is much like the baptism ceremonies performed by Christian churches and serves much the same purpose.
This ceremony includes a mother and a father, assumed to be the biological parents of the children. In the absence of one parent, simply omit them. In the case of adoption, you can omit the bit about “bringing forth life.”
Tools- Saltwater, Olive Oil
Decorations- Flowers, eggs, birds, bunnies
Robe- Pink, blue, pastels
Begin the ceremony with your traditional opening rite.
Acolyte or Priest(ess) (lighting candle on altar)
“We come together today to celebrate new life. Let this candle represent the spark of life within us all.”
“I welcome all those present to welcome into our midst a new life. This life has been passed into the care of [name and name], who have now come before us to present this life into the care of the community. For though their ancestors have gifted them with the duty of caring and providing for this new life, it is the duty of the entire community to support them in their efforts.
Today we will bestow upon the child of [name and name] his/her own name, so that he/she may face the world a unique individual and all of those who meet him/her will know that he/she is someone to be honored and respected. For there is power in a name. Without a name we are nothing more than a part of something else. With a name, we are ourselves.
Come, mother, and present your child before your people.”
Mother comes forward carrying child. Other Parent may come with her.
Priest(ess) takes up bowl of salt water.
“The sea is the womb of all life. From the sea did all living things emerge. With this water do I bless thee, mother, and thee father and the new life which you have created together.”
Priestess sprinkles water over the father and mother.
“Here is the mother, from whose body this new life has come forth. Let us honor her. It is right that she who brought forth life should name it.
What name do you give this child?”
Mother speaks the name of child. (may whisper it)
Priest(ess) (to father or other parent)
“Is this name acceptable to you, father?”
Priest(ess) to parents: Here are the parents who lift up this new life and gift this child with a name of their own. What name do you give this child?
(They may announce loudly or whisper it)
Priest(ess) (to child, anoint with salt water, may whisper in the child’s ear)
“I do bless the, child who is named [name] with this water that you may never forget where you came from.”
“Do you [mother] and you [father] promise to love, respect and care for this child for the entirety of your life? Do you promise to nurture him/her and be there for him/her in hard times and in joy, remembering that you will face sacrifice and self-denial for his/her sake many times before your final rest?”
“The duty of child rearing is a sacred and difficult one. It is not easy and even less so when faced alone. Who will stand beside these parents and support them in their effort?”
Godparents/Grandparents step forward.
“May your commitment and dedication to this child enrich and ignoble your lives.”
Priest(ess) blesses Godparents/Grandparents with salt water. Then puts down cauldron and takes up the bowl of oil.
Priet(ess) (to child anointing with olive oil)
“Before those who love you, before your parents, your family, your friends and your community, before you ancestors, before the Gods and before all of Nature I do declare your name to be [name] granted by your mother, and approved by your father. May this name serve you well. May the name [name] be spoken with honor. May the name [name] inspire people to great things. May the name [name] become synonymous with virtue and strength.”
Priest(ess) (to gathering)
“People, I present to you [name]. You are charged with assisting his/her parents and guardians to protect her/him. Welcome her/him today, and in the future offer her/him your kindness, generosity and hospitality. Some of you he/she will call teacher. Some friend. Some protector. May you all earn your roles well. Come forward one and all and give name your blessings and greetings.”
Now the mother and father stand by the altar with the baby and the group processes by offering greetings, well-wishes and gifts.
Close ceremony with a traditional closing rite as appropriate.