A Christening is an important time for new parents if they choose to have one. Christians who christen their child are doing so so that they become a fully fledged child of God. Many Christians believe that you cannot go to Heaven if you are not christened, making it one of the most important parts of a person’s journey in life. But, what happens at a Christening and what do you need to know? Keep reading to find out more.
What happens at a Christening?
At a Christening, the parents and Godparents of the baby will stand at the altar with the priest or vicar and promise to bring the child up within the Christian faith. There is a part of the ceremony in which the priest will say a blessing, and the child is either submerged under water for a second or water is placed on their head. This symbolises the washing away of the original sin, and from there the child officially becomes one of God’s children.
How long after a baby is born do you have a Christening?
It’s usually the case that parents are expected to take the baby to be Christened within the first few weeks of their life up to a year of age. This will depend on the availability of the church to perform the ceremony, and if there are any extenuating circumstances that will prevent this. Generally though, this should be done within the first 12 months of the baby’s life.
Who attends a Christening?
Anyone can attend a Christening that is invited by the parents of the newborn. It depends who the parent wants to be present on the day, to witness the moment a child is welcomed into the Christian faith. However, there are some essential people to the Christening. The parents must be present at this time, as well as all of the chosen godparents. These are the people who are integral to the ceremony, as well as the performing priest. Nobody else is necessary as the godparents act as witnesses. However, most people turn this into a celebration and hold a party afterwards. Parents traditionally invite 3 people to be a child's godparent. If it is a baby girl then 2 female and 1 male godparents, and if a baby boy 2 male and 1 female godparents.
What do I wear to a Christening?
A Christening is a formal event, so if you are invited to one you need to do your best to look presentable. However, you don’t need to dress up too spectacularly as the focus is supposed to be on the child and the parents, not you. You can wear the majority of things, with a midi or maxi dress being most appropriate for the event if you are a woman, with a shirt and trousers for a man.
You don’t want to wear anything too informal, and you also want to avoid wearing a white dress. The baby will be dressed in white to signify purity and innocence, and nobody else should really wear this colour.
Who should you invite to a Christening?
As the parent, you can invite anybody that you want. You should invite the people that you want to witness the event such as your parents, your family, your friends and the godparents. Nobody else is really needed. The majority of people opt to invite close family and friends to their special occasion.
It’s important not to go overboard with the invites to a Christening seeing as it is such as close and personal time. If you want to have a party afterwards, then you can invite more people to celebrate with you then. For the ceremony itself though, it’s best to keep it to a minimum.
Who plans the Christening?
The parents of the baby being Christened organise the Christening. They typically organise everything from the food to the venue and everything else. The parents need to confer with the church to see when there is availability for the service, and from there they arrange everything else. Sometimes, the godparents will do this, depending on the situation.
What do I bring to a Christening?
You don’t need to bring much to a Christening. Bring yourself, and a gift for the baby but that is all you need. If you are invited to an after party then you may wish to bring some kind of food, but it is not appropriate to bring it into the service itself so it will have to be left at the venue or in the car.
Christenings are an important part of the baby’s life, but they are usually a rather low-key affair.
What is the best Christening gift?
There are a range of gifts that you can choose for a Christening. You can choose a personalised hanging ceramic heart to immortalise the day. Or, a personalised blanket for the baby to use for the first months of their life, but will be able to keep forever. You could even opt for a keepsake teddy bear as the child will be able to cherish this forever. The typical trend for a Christening gift is either something that will be useful for the baby, or something that they will be able to keep and cherish forever.
Some people choose to go down a more traditional and religious path with their gifts, bringing a rosary or Bible. It depends on what the parents want. If you are struggling, ask the parents what they would like as a gift, and they will let you know.
If you are not sure of what to purchase, and you are unable to ask the parents for any reason, some people prefer to give money so that the parents can choose for themselves. It is down to your discretion, as long as you ensure that whatever you are giving is appropriate for the occasion.
We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now have a better understanding of what normally happens to a Christening, as well as some of the other frequently asked questions surrounding this event. You should now be well prepared to go out and to a Christening and not have to worry about a thing.
If you have been invited to a Christening and are looking for some gifting inspiration, you might be interested to read How to choose the best baby Christening Gift and 7 Effortless Christening Gifts From Godparents