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The hippest way to welcome your baby

Why parents are finding alternative ways to mark the birth of their babe




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Christenings have long been the traditional way of welcoming a child into the world. The important new arrival is decked out in a white gown of sumptuous silks and then ceremoniously splashed over the forehead – while she often lets out a few shrill cries in the process. Other religions have naming ceremonies, such as the Jewish Zeved Habat for girls and Brit Milah for boys, and the Sikh ceremony Naam Karan. Now the latest vogue for families from non-religious backgrounds is to hold a bespoke naming ceremony for their child. “Many parents want to do something special to celebrate the arrival of their baby and a few bring all their close family and friends together to share some fizz, say words and mark the day in a unique way, but don’t want a religious ceremony,” says Becky Alexander, author of The Complete Guide To Baby Naming Ceremonies (How To Books, £8.99).

As far as the format goes, you can choose pretty much anything you like, from a pagan-style woodland gathering where your baby is showered in rose petals, to a relaxed beach affair, with a barbecue. Often, there'll be readings and poems from family and friends. “We held ceremonies for our daughters, Isabel, now eight, and Polly, now four, when they were babies,” says Becky. “For Isabel, we held a small service in a gorgeous lakeside setting in the Lake District  and for Polly, we were by a river with poems and a picnic.”

Instead of godparents, many families choose sponsors to help guide their children along life’s journey. Older siblings, too, can play an important role in the proceedings – this could involve making promises to look after and to always try to be kind to their new baby sibling. Whatever kind of ceremony you choose, there’s no guarantee the star of the show won’t cry…

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This article previously appeared in Junior magazine as a print article


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