Sunday 21 October 2018

'Under a tree in the park with blankets, and tying wishes to a tree' - trendy Irish naming ceremonies on the rise

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Stock picture
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An increasing number of families in Ireland are choosing to forego traditional christening ceremonies in favour of bespoke naming ceremonies for their babies.

Yesterday, former Newstalk presenter Sile Seoige shared her joy in an Instagram post after her son Cathal’s bilingual naming ceremony.

"It was a bilingual ceremony by a very close family friend which brought tears and laughter," she told her followers. "It was personal, authentic and heartfelt and I wouldn't have changed a thing."

"Fresh air, walks on the beach, quality time with family, cuddles, sing-songs and plenty of craic," she added.

Lyndsey Devine, a celebrant who creates bespoke naming ceremonies for families, told that naming ceremonies are a growing trend in Ireland.

“The last naming ceremony I did was under a tree in Phoenix Park,” she said.

“The lady used to sit under that tree when she was pregnant, all the family gathered around under the tree with blankets. It was really lovely.”

“Another naming ceremony was a barbecue in Cork, and it involved everyone saying a few words under the tree.”

“We took a petal from flowers in the flower bed in the garden and everyone made a wish with it, and then we put the petal into a bowl of water so the water that was poured over the baby’s head basically had all the wishes.”

Traditionally, religious baptisms take place when babies are only a few months old, or younger. But Lyndsey said the youngest baby she has “named” was seven months old while the oldest was two and a half.

Naming ceremonies can be designed to suit the couple and their baby.

“I’ve had parents who’ve written their own song for the baby and performed their own music at the ceremony.”

“I did a ceremony where the parents wanted to have a silent ceremony, where we would sit in silence and not speak for a very long time and let the positive energy flow over the baby.”

“Just before we had the silent part of it I said that if anyone felt compelled to say anything about the couple or the child, they could. And after the jitters went away, the couple were quite surprised with who was standing up to speak, and the beautiful things they said. It was very much off the cuff. That element comes from the Quaker religion.”

Naming ceremonies tend to be all inclusive, according to Lyndsey, and couples tend to tailor the ceremonies to appeal to the whole family. Religious aspects can be woven in to appeal to any religious members of the family.

“There’s a very strong sense of family and occasion at these naming ceremonies. All of these are part of celebrating family life together. They want to have the christening, mark it, but in a very personal way. Take stock, remember who couldn’t be there, and have some religious elements for people who are religious as well.”

“One couple had a big tree in their back garden, and everyone made a wish for the baby and tied the ribbon around the tree, and then put those wishes in a box for the baby to have in the future.”

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