5 Fascinating Facts about Christenings
A christening, or baptism, marks the commencement of a journey with God and membership in the church. It is an ancient Christian custom that first began with Jesus himself when he was baptised in the Jordan River. To this day, baptisms ceremonies are still rich in past down traditions, including the after baptism celebrations with family, friends and the chosen godparents. Below are five interesting facts about christenings.
1. There isn’t any Difference between a Baptism and a Christening
One of the facts about christenings is that there is no real difference between the word 'baptism' and the word 'christening.' However, it could be said, babies are baptised during a christening service. The actual meaning of the old-style English word 'christening' is to “become a member of the Christian church.” The word 'baptism' means to be immersed in water.
2. The Christening is the Beginning of a Lifelong Commitment for Godparents
Being asked to be a godparent is not only an honour but also a huge responsibility. Godparents have an obligation to help guide and teach the Christian faith to their godchildren. Yet, the role of today’s modern-day godparent has progressed to entail much more than simply a spiritual role model, such as companionship and mentoring. They are often expected to be there for the godchild in all ways, including love, faith and friendship. Remember, if you have been asked to be a godparent, it is vital to double check the christening invitation for the time and directions so that you arrive on time.
3. A Christening Ceremony is filled with Symbols for New Life
The child is christened when holy water is poured on the head symbolising cleansing and new life. The baby will be signed with a cross and olive oil is rubbed on the baby's chest as a representation of strengthening. Oil of chrism is then rubbed on the head as a mark of sealing with gifts of the Spirit. Hymns will be sung and prayers will be offered for the child and family. Both godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby.
4. The Infant Christening Gown Evolved in the Mid-Eighteenth Century
Prior to the mid-1700s, babies were tightly wrapped in swaddling clothing and then enfolded into a big square piece of silk material with gold braiding called a bearing cloth. Parents then began dressing their babies in very long flowing christening robes that included matching handkerchiefs, bibs, bonnets, mittens, booties, and handkerchiefs.
The Victorian era brought about the fancier christening gowns adorned with beautiful embellishments of Ayrshire embroidery work. Throughout the years, baby christening clothing styles have remained relatively the same, which is likely due to families handing down infant ceremonial baptism attire from one generation to the next. The colour white has long been used for baptism clothing to represent innocence and a renewal in Christ.
5. Baptism Celebrations are an Important Part of Christenings
A celebration of the baptism is a tradition and an ideal way to introduce your baby to your relatives and friends who haven’t yet met him. After the ceremony is a perfect time to have a christening party and take pictures. A Saturday or Sunday morning is very convenient, because it is a good way to keep food costs down with a simple brunch or just punch and cake. Remember to choose a colour theme and plan your décor around it, including the christening invitations, cake, party favours, and decorations. You may even want to hire a photographer to photograph this special milestone in your child’s life.