Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why do you need a celebrant for a naming?

Recently I had an email from a parent asking if a legal record of a naming ceremony is kept anywhere, and if not why a celebrant is needed.

The formal naming of a child has a community history that predates formal registration. The role of government is limited to recognising and recording the name of a child to the registration of a birth, so naming ceremonies have escaped government control in Australia, although in England registry offices do offer civil naming ceremonies. .

In Australia, a naming ceremony is a family occasion. While I provide lovely naming certificates for the children I name and commenorative certificates for other participants in the ceremony, these are a keepsake rather than a legal document. However, in the extremely highly unlikely case where something has gone wrong in the registration of a birth, and down the track it is discovered that there is no official record, a naming certificate, signed by 5 witnesses, could be used as supplementary evidence of date of birth when attached to a statutory declaration.

As for the question about why a celebrant is needed. Well, legally, a celebrant isn't needed. But emotionally, and aesthetically, a skilled and experienced celebrant can add so much to the ceremony. I've created and conducted a number of naming ceremonies for a second child in the family where the family had not used a celebrant for the naming of the first child, and had regretted it. But I do also understand that there are times when having a celebrant conduct the ceremony on the day is impractical (due to geographic isolation) or not desired for some reason. In such cases I offer a DIY service. For a very affordable fee I create a personalised ceremony for you, provide you with certificates and a beautifully presented keepsake copy of the ceremony that is also suitable for reading from on the day, and leave it to you to organise someone to lead the ceremony.

Harking back to the origin of naming ceremonies this could be the father of the child (in ancient Rome a child was not legally a human or citizen until formally named by his/her father), both parents, a member of the family, or a friend who has the public speaking skills required.

Til next time ...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Back on line

Along with many others, by changing my ISP I lost access to this blog. However recent changes to Blogger has enabled me to reclaim this blog, so I'm back on line.

Naming ceremonies give me a great deal of satisfaction. Yes, they take as much work as a marriage ceremony, and the market won't bear the same fees, but they give me the opportunity to work with families and make a contribution to the next generation by giving them a documented expression of their family's commitment to them.

I'm coming up to naming my 200th baby, and I can sincerely say that I've enjoyed every single ceremony, and creating something new, fresh and different for each family.

Last weekend it was a naming for two children of a family who had come down from the country to celebrate with the grandparents and great-aunt. We included a water blessing in the ceremony (good tip here, make sure the water is warm) and there wasn't a dry eye in the house as the parents made their promises to the children.

Until next time ....