ranunculus flowers bouquet in baby shoesChances are, if you're considering having a christening ceremony for your newborn baby, it's because you were christened yourself as a baby. However, the christenings of today are probably much different than the one your parents had for you. While some traditions still hold true, others have drastically changed.

More Babies Have More Godparents

Traditionally, newborn babies have had one godmother and one godfather, but in recent years, those numbers have increased. Not only are more people choosing godparents for their babies, but they are choosing multiple people. Celebrities have been known to give their babies six or seven godparents, and regular citizens are following suit. Some Catholic churches are even running out of spaces to put the godparents' names on the registers. While the church requires a minimum number of godparents, they do not have a maximum, which is leading to what some feel is an overabundance.

Fewer People Are Religious

If you have godparents, they are probably religious. Today's newborns may have more godparents, but that doesn't necessarily equate to more religion. While religious parents are still choosing religious godparents, non-religious families are opting to choose guardians instead. Instead of mentoring the baby in faith as he or she grows, the new type of godparent is responsible for overall mentoring. In many cases, they are listed in the parents' will as guardians for the baby should something happen to both parents.

Not as Many People Are Having Christenings

While ceremonies themselves are still quite popular, traditional christenings have declined. In the 1980s, about 30 percent of babies were christened. As of 2011, only about 10 percent were being christened. While percentage drops vary by religion, the drop is happening across all faiths and denominations. Many parents are choosing non-religious ceremonies to take the place of christening.

  • Naming ceremonies
  • Glistenings
  • Sip and sees

No matter what you call it, the idea of the ceremony is to appoint godparents or alternative guardians, let friends and families meet the baby and learn his or her name, and have a reception after.

Late or Fake Baptisms

Some parents who forego the traditional christening aren't necessarily foregoing baptism but instead waiting until the children are older. Sometimes it is because they want the child to make his or her own decision regarding religion. Other times, it is because they want to spend money on a ceremony and reception the child will remember.

In some cases, the parents never intended to have the child baptized but, after deciding they wanted their child to go to a faith-based private school, realized they needed to hold a baptism ceremony. Known as "bogus baptisms," these ceremonies are performed more out of necessity and planning for the child's academic future than because of religious upbringing.

Christening Gowns Are Not as Popular

Even for those who opt for a religious christening ceremony for their newborn, christening gowns are not a part of as many of them. Instead of requiring gowns for baptizing a baby, churches now simply ask for the baby to be in nice dress clothes and wrapped in a white cloth for the duration of the baptism to signify the upcoming walk with Christ. Most parents are now choosing cute or pretty outfits of the modern variety. Parents who do use christening gowns often do so because the gown has been passed down through several generations of the family.

Gifts Are Changing

One thing that hasn't changed much about christening ceremonies or baptisms is the tradition of giving a gift. Although the once common silver is not as practical today, it is still good etiquette to bring a gift if you are invited to a christening. Consider something practical or fun for the baby, and present the parents with the gift at the reception.

Regardless of the type of ceremony you have for your newborn, avoid anything too trendy and remember to take lots of pictures. This way, you can remember your baby's ceremony as it was long after the traditions change again.

Category: Baptism

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