What happens at a non-religious Humanist Naming ceremony?
The good news is that a non-religious humanist naming ceremony can be exactly what you want it to be. There are no rules. The ceremony is for no-one else but you, your family, your friends and, of course … your child.
Where do I hold the ceremony?
You can hold your naming ceremony pretty much wherever you like. At home – in your back garden, your living room or even in your kitchen! You can hire a marquee, use a hotel or a pub, have the ceremony in a field, in a public park or on the beach. Provided it’s legal, the choice is yours. Of course, you’ll want to bear the weather in mind. You’ll need to plan a contingency, just in case of a downpour. After all, we humanists prefer to leave the tradition of ‘wetting the baby’s head’ to those of a religious persuasion!
Who takes part?
Pretty much whoever you want to. Usually the ceremony begins with your celebrant welcoming your guests. They’ll say a few words to explain what a humanist naming ceremony is all about and what will happen.
As parents you may wish to say a few words yourself – a reading or a poem, perhaps something you’ve written yourself. Perhaps you’ll want to make your own ‘promises’ to your child.
It could be that you invite grandparents or cousins to say a few words or to make their own special contribution. If one of your friends or relatives is musical, you might ask them to play or sing.
It’s a nice idea to involve any siblings to play a role – just so that thy don’t feel left out! After all, your naming ceremony is for everyone to enjoy!
Guideparents – a special, supportive role
Just as in a christian ceremony, there are sometimes godparents, you might like to ask a special friend or two to take on the role of ‘Guideparents’. (You don’t have to call them this – you might prefer the term ‘mentor’ or ‘life mentor’ – it’s up to you).
Naturally, you wish for your child to lead a fulfilling and happy life. But none of us lives a life completely free of care. Your child too will doubtless suffer from occasional woes. And this is where Guideparents come in. They have a a vital role to play – to be on hand in good times and bad – to fulfil a special, supportive role – to be the special someone from outside the immediate family. Someone for your child to turn to for love, advice and, and of course, fun when things aren’t going their way.
Can we have a ritual at our naming ceremony?
Of course you can!
There are so many ways of holding a brief ceremony-within-a-ceremony that can be fun as well as meaningful.
You could think about –
and many others.
You may have your own ideas – or you can ask your celebrant for guidance.
The ‘naming’ itself
This part of the ceremony usually comes at the end. It’s the climax. Not always, but often, there is a solemn element to this part of a humanist naming ceremony.
Our names matter. They confer an identity. They represent our individuality and uniqueness.
They mark us off from other people, yet bring us to them when they speak our name.
Our names our precious. We choose to give or not to give our names to anyone we meet.
Our names are spoken, whispered, shouted, cried, sung and written by many people throughout our lives.
Our names are a key to our selves.
Is religion barred from a Humanist Naming ceremony?
Well, presumably you won’t be looking for an overtly religious element. But, a key aspect of humanism is that it’s not anti-religion. It’s simply non-religious. If there are guests who are religious, you can allow for a moment of reflection – perhaps while a piece of music is playing – so that those who have a religious belief, can make their own private prayer.
See for yourself …
Here’s what Ken and Zoe had to say about the naming ceremony for their little girl, Elsie –
… and this is just one example of how you might like to structure your humanist naming ceremony
- Introductions and welcomes
- Reading or poem
- Information about the child – their arrival, personality, interests so far
- Words about the importance and responsibility of parenting
- Parental promises to the child
- Reading or poem
- Importance of wider family (e.g. grandparents, cousins, etc.)
- Appointment of guideparents
- Guideparents’ promises
- Reasons for the choice of name
- The naming itself (various forms are possible)
- Concluding words
Find out more …
… about creating the perfect ‘welcome’ for your child – call me on 07703 472207