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A baby getting baptizedThe act of bringing a child into the world holds tremendous significance for you and your family. As a parent, you may feel both an emotional and a spiritual connection to it. You want to celebrate your baby's arrival in some fashion, but what if you don't want a traditional baptism? Thankfully, you have other options. Crafting your own ceremony is a wonderful way to commemorate the arrival of this precious new life.

Create a Baby Blessing Ceremony

If you're an interfaith family, or if you don't feel called to use the traditions of your original religion, then a baby blessing ceremony is a loving and joyous way to celebrate your little one. Choosing a Unitarian, interfaith or liberally-minded house of worship for the location is a good idea, especially if you plan to mix different kinds of traditions or if you're creating a unique set of rituals from scratch. The house minister may be able to preside over the festivities, or you can choose a friend or family member to do so instead.

You can craft the kind of experience you want, but the general idea of a blessing is to welcome the new baby. Selecting a collection of special poems, scriptures or other readings infuses the event with your own personal meaning. Other ideas include inviting friends and family to bestow gifts of cultural and spiritual significance, or incorporating a sacred object such as a blessing crown or stick.

Keep in mind that you have a wide latitude of celebratory possibilities from which to borrow. For instance, some rites borrowed and modified from pre-Christian cultures tend to invoke sacred elements, integrate the use of holy objects and include anointing with oil or water. In other parts of the world, a short ceremony is held, usually followed by a large community feast. Whatever type of festivity you arrange, keep it under 40 minutes in length and account for your baby's naps, feeding times, crankiness or other unexpected surprises.

Reach Back Into Your Ancestral Heritage for Ideas

If you aren't currently connected to any faith, it might be hard to decide how to herald your child's arrival. If you're lacking for ideas, then try blending in traditions from your ancestral heritages. Nearly every culture in the world has some equivalent of a naming, blessing, consecration or welcoming rite for newborns. And many of these are community-focused, often with the elders leading or guiding the proceedings. For example, the Edo people of Nigeria hold a naming ceremony on the seventh day after a child's birth, during which the eldest female relative asks the mother for the child's name. Prayers are offered, and food and drink follow afterward.

Go Simple and Fun

If nothing religious or cultural strikes you as important, or if you're not the sort for rituals or ceremonies, a small get-together can even be meaningful. A low-key meet-and-greet might be ideal, followed by a potluck or barbeque. You don't have to go over the top, and the point is to make it a joyous occasion during which your family gets to know its newest little member.

Whether you've chosen a new spiritual path from the one in which you were raised or you're not particularly connected to any faith, you may still want a way to celebrate your newborn's entrance into the world. You have a lot of latitude in crafting your own ceremonies or events, and mixing religious or cultural practices is always a possibility. However, a small party in your home that's casual and comfortable for all involved may be just the right way to welcome your baby. No matter what you select, it's up to you to give it your own stamp of uniqueness and meaning.

Category: Baptism

Baptism family children

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