WEDDINGS FUNERALS back to ceremonies
Choosing a name and introducing this new person to the 'world' is important, but christenings and other religious rituals are unsuitable and hypocritical for parents who do not subscribe to any religion or believe in any gods. It is possible to organise your own welcoming ceremony or to plan one with the help of a humanist celebrant. A family ceremony held soon after a birth is an occasion to celebrate the baby’s safe arrival. It is also an opportunity for the parents, relatives and friends to welcome the new arrival and to declare their commitment to protecting and promoting the welfare of their child.
The ceremony expresses these feelings in a special open and formal way. Like all Humanist ceremonies one of welcome is especially composed for the circumstances and individual people taking part on that unique occasion, and is, of course, entirely secular. Sometimes several babies among a group of friends have a shared ceremony of welcome together. At the ceremony parents can declare, in their own words, their commitment to the new arrival and their acceptance of responsibility for the child’s well-being during the years leading to maturity. The words are usually spoken among close family and friends, who have particular concern and affection for the parents, for any other children they may have, and the new one.
Many Humanists take up the suggestion of having one or more friends to act as ‘mentors', or 'guardians’ as secular ‘god parents’. Their role is to take a special interest in the child’s development and to give support to the parents; and can be there as a refuge for the child outside the immediate family circle. The ceremony can be conducted by a recognised Humanist officiant or by a close friend or member of the family.
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