5 Things to Know About Humanist Naming Ceremonies

Credit: Barry Willis Photography

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Humanist naming ceremonies are a joyous and heartfelt way to celebrate the arrival of your child into the family. But what actually are they and how can you have one? Here are five things you need to know.

5 Things to Know about Humanist Naming Ceremonies

If you’ve always thought about a baptism or christening for your child but have felt it’s not quite right for you due to the religious element, why not try a humanist ceremony? Here is all you need to know about humanist naming ceremonies.

They are inclusive to all

Credit: Barry Willis Photography

As non-religious ceremonies, they are warm and welcoming to everyone, regardless of belief or faith. They make the perfect solution for families with mixed heritages and traditions, as customs from both families can be included.

They are a celebration of your child

Credit: Barry Willis Photography

They recognise your child as a unique individual, full of promise and potential for the future, surrounded by a circle of love from family and friends.

You can still have special adults to play a part in your child’s life

Credit: Neon Brand via Unsplash

Rather than godparents, you might call them guideparents, mentors, sparents, oddparents, cheerleaders – or even fairy godparents! Often they make promises to the child about the support and encouragement they will provide throughout the child’s journey to adulthood.

They don’t need to be formal…

Credit: Barry Willis Photography

You can host an event in your garden, or in the woods, or at the beach. It’s all about bringing your closest family and friends together to mark the occasion with you and your child. You can have a marquee or a gazebo, and decorate it with bunting and paper lanterns, or simply create a space with picnic blankets and deckchairs.

…but they can be

A naming ceremony can be a wonderful excuse to create a special occasion for all your family and friends, at a hotel or function room, or in a formal garden.

Your ceremony will be custom-made to you and your child

Credit: Barry Willis Photography

Your celebrant will work with you to create the ceremony exactly as you want it to be. It can include readings and music, and involve grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

You may choose to share your hopes and aspirations for the future, and how you promise to be a good parent. Older siblings can take part too – it’s a great way to involve all the generations in welcoming a new member of the family.

There are many activities or special gestures you can include in your ceremony to make it truly personal – and create a keepsake for your child for the future. You could plant a tree and ask all your guests to write special messages and good wishes on labels, which they tie to the branches.

Or you could ask everyone to place a thumb print, in different coloured ink, onto a large illustration of the branches of a tree, to create a picture of all the family members and friends supporting your child.

A sand ceremony can be the beautiful symbol for blended families, where the parents and children each pour layers of different coloured sand into a glass vase, and an additional colour is added for the new arrival. Your celebrant will have lots of suggestions about what might work for you, tailored to your story and your needs – or you might have an idea of your own, totally unique to you and your family.

Find out more about humanist naming ceremonies at humanists.uk and watch a video to learn more. You can meet Humanist UK’s network of accredited celebrants local to you at humanists.uk.

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