While choosing your child’s name can be as challenging as it is exciting, officially welcoming them into your family with a naming ceremony can be as easy as child’s play, thanks to the experience of accredited humanist naming celebrants from Humanist Ceremonies.
The popularity of non-religious, humanist ceremonies is growing throughout the UK, because they allow people to mark life’s major turning points in a way that is authentic and meaningful to them.
Humanist weddings, for example, have never been more popular, with more couples choosing humanist marriages in Scotland than choose to get married in a church. And people continue to be touched by the moving, personalised nature of humanist funerals – with one in seven people now saying they want one when they die, according to YouGov.
That need for ceremony and occasion is felt by us all, and it’s why humanists also provide specialist naming ceremonies for families who want a non-religious alternative to a baptism or a christening.
In fact, the growing demand for non-religious naming ceremonies has meant that the charity, Humanists UK has this year trained and accredited more naming celebrants than ever before, which means that wherever you live in the UK or the Channel Islands, there’s likely to be an accredited humanist naming celebrant local to you.
So, what does a humanist naming celebrant do?
Naming ceremonies are an increasingly popular way for families to formally welcome a child into their family, and whilst a humanist naming ceremony might be a ‘first’ for you, celebrants from the Humanist Ceremonies network are trained to deliver not just the ‘naming’ of your child, but a ceremony that can include a variety of promises, readings, and symbolic acts such as planting a tree, lighting a unity candle, or conducting a sand-blending ritual.
A naming celebrant will meet with you to discuss your wishes for the day – from a short ceremony as part of an intimate family do, to a longer ceremony which is part of a day of celebration with family and friends.
They will offer you support with choosing readings, poems, music, and writing personal promises to your child, and provide you with a draft script for you to edit and agree in advance.
On the day, your celebrant will lead the ceremony and ensure that everything runs on time, freeing you up to welcome your guests, relax, and enjoy time spent with family and friends.
You will receive a presentation copy of the script and a commemorative certificate.
What about ‘godparents’?
As the old saying goes, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’! Whatever you choose to call them, significant people in your child’s life can certainly be included in the naming ceremony if you wish. How many (if any) you appoint is entirely up to you and they can all have different roles and titles.
The most popular name used in place of ‘godparent’ is ‘guideparent’. Other families may choose a more light-hearted term like ‘oddparent’ or ‘sparent’. It’s entirely up to you.
Where can we have a humanist naming ceremony?
Naming ceremonies can be held anywhere (within reason): at home, in the garden, at a hotel, or your local community centre or village hall. For park and woodland ceremonies, don’t forget to check with the owners.
Are naming ceremonies only for babies?
Naming ceremonies aren’t just for babies – and they’re often conducted jointly for siblings of different ages. They also make the perfect way to welcome adopted children and stepchildren into a family.
Sometimes, naming ceremonies are even combined with weddings or birthday parties.
Testimonials: What people say about naming ceremonies from Humanist Ceremonies
‘It was personal, emotional and just beautiful. Everyone has commented on what a wonderful ceremony it was.’
‘It was a lovely day. All about our daughter, which is just what we wanted! So many comments from our guests on how great the ceremony was!’
‘It was an amazing ceremony and everyone left with a lovely memory of a very sincere service.’
‘Many of our guests had not experienced a humanist ceremony before but were very impressed. Our celebrant was great and brought fun into the ceremony and made us feel comfortable.‘
To find out more about humanist naming ceremonies, and to find a celebrant near you visit humanistceremonies.org.uk/namings.
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