What is a "Naming" Ceremony or "Name-Giving" Ceremony?

It is a fulfilling and meaningful experience for all concerned. Sometimes called a secular christening or a name ceremony, it is an occasion where a new birth is celebrated and a child is welcomed into the family. In doing so, family relationships are deepened and parents become more aware of their responsibilities. So too, do the grandparents and godparents/mentors/guardians.

Historically speaking, naming ceremonies go back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Renowned scholars tell us that a child was not a member of the family until he/she had been officially welcomed into the family through a naming ceremony. It is not a legally binding ceremony.

Does it take the place of a christening?

The name giving ceremony is an excellent occasion for the cultural expression of joy, hope and acceptance. Many people do not believe in infant baptism or for whatever reason, choose not to access a house of worship at this time, so choose this cultural celebration and leave the child free to choose or not to choose baptism later in their lives. In fact, all naming ceremonies are performed on this principle.

Where and when can we have our ceremony?

Most ceremonies are performed in or around the home, a meaningful expression of nurturing, love and togetherness. It is also the most practical and often convenient place to have the ceremony. Informality is usually the order of the day. Often held at the weekend, usually late morning or early afternoon, followed by a buffet lunch or a BBQ.

How do we go about choosing a ceremony?

Have you been spending your precious time searching for ideas, in desperation almost settling for the one example your celebrant had offered? I have done all the hard work for you and have compiled this collection of ceremonies to inspire you, for you to use or to adapt.

Every aspect of the ceremony should reflect you (both), your thoughts and feelings, beliefs and ideals, hopes and desires for your child. The ceremony is therefore totally personalized to suit every aspect of your being.

Your ceremony could be....

Simple but sincere and brief; more traditional to include poetry readings by the grandparents or godparents; a ceremony with a splash of spirituality provided by candles and readings; culturally rich with ritual maybe; or a ceremony to include your step-children?


Ceremonies have structure and if guidelines are followed a ceremony with interest, variation, good length and natural flow will be the end result.

The Introduction

Acknowledgement of grandparents/great grandparents

A reading

Acknowledgement of Godparent/s

The Naming

A cultural ritual

A reading


Signing of the Certificates

Presentation of the child

6 ceremonies for you to consider.....cut and paste......adapt to suit you

I've created 6 unique ceremonies along with complete additional readings, poetry and cultural rituals in a valuable digital guide. They've been designed for you to cut and paste, to add new material to or for you to adapt.

A questionnaire is also provided to assist you in compiling a more personalized introduction..

  1. Read and decide what you like and want, delete headings you don't want.
  2. Consider your questionnaire answers and make a little flowing narrative from them to include in the introduction.
  3. Copy material (and adapt) whatever you want to use.
  4. Include any of your own material
  5. Paste it all under your headings.
  6. Choose your font and print!

........and your ceremony is ready!

Here are some excerpts from the ceremonies.....

".......... As the rain falls to give new life to the earth below,May all life’s bounty sustain you. May you share this bounty with others in love and joy."
"I now ask the godparents to light their candle from the child’s candle. The lighting of the candle by godparents is a ceremonial acknowledgement by the godparents that they accept the responsibility associated with the role of godparent. The flame of the candle represents the light that will..........."
"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not........."
"I wish you......... good health and a head full of hair the enjoyment of many pleasures a peaceful world to live in. true friends and satisfying relationships. a creative spirit."
"We bless this child with the elements of our common being – with earth, air, fire and water. With earth, which is as solid as your given frame, my child we bless you. Take care of yourself as a body, be good to yourself, for you are a precious gift. With air which is as fluctuating as your given passion, my child, we......"
".......... now three months old, this child is a happy and smiley little man who loves to be read or sung to and to play with his toys with his dog brother and sister. He loves to eat and is growing bigger by the day. Even without words he is able to make very clear to those around him what he does and doesn’t like and is showing early signs of being a determined little boy.........."
"Your dad in particular, was so proud when he found out you were going to be a little boy. Your parents spent much time trying to decide upon a name for you. Your dad was keen to call you Enzo after his soccer idol........."
".......... this ceremony will in no way inhibit this child from seeking the truth during his life and any future commitments to religious or non religious beliefs. In fact, it is our duty in the coming years to present to him a broad and balanced view......."
"......Cuddle them every morning As you send them on their way And ask your self this question…... Did you cuddle your child today?"

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