A baptism, for those unclear of the concept, is a Christian sacrament of admission and adoption into the religion. The majority of baptisms involve newborn infants, who are held over a baptismal font in a Roman Catholic church. Water is then poured over the head carefully, washing the newborn child and cleansing them of the sins mankind has performed in the past, namely that of Adam and Eve.
A christening is simply a christian naming ceremony. If you have ever heard the terminology “my christian name”, this is where it comes from.
Today, the acts of christening and baptism have changed drastically within the past few centuries. Here are a few ways that is true.
Christenings have long been in decline. Statistics reveal that only one in three newborn infants are christened in the Church of England back during the 80’s. By 2011, that number changed to one in ten. The overall number of christenings have also drastically dropped off, from 266,000 in 1980 to 140,000 in recent years.
Instead of parents dressing their newborn in the usual christening gowns or baptismal dresses of old, many parents have now decided to host a baby-naming ceremony as their child’s rite of passage instead. This tradition involves groups of adults coming together to select a name for the newborn child.
This may sound like blasphemy, but it is today’s reality, depending on the parents. The phenomenon of a fake baptism has popped up across the country due to parents motivated to get their child in a faith school, which can be a higher quality education than a public school (albeit slanted towards a specific faith and their teachings).
This type of experience generally occurs via a non practising Christian or Catholic who simply wants another option for their child. This is highly frowned upon within the religion, for obvious reasons.
This is one of the reasons for a christening or baptism losing its popularity. Some parents have decided that a christening gown or baptism dress is out of fashion, so they decline to dress their child in such. Many baptismal classes, however, state that the traditional garb once worn by every child was no longer required. Some parents simply dress their child in a plain white shirt and a pair of trousers made for infants.
The rise in godparents is an incredible trend. Christenings are dwindling in number but the amount of godparents per child is increasing steadily year-over-year. Prince George, for example, has seven godparents. This is not just a celebrity fad either.
Everyday citizens are opting for a godparent to care for their child instead of hoping for the best or for a relative to take their child in if anything were to happen to them. The requirements for a godparent these days are much more lax, as well. In fact, most godparents are not required to be religious. Some faiths insists that all godparents receive their own baptism before taking on the role, though this requirement is not enforced throughout all of the parishes.
Times are changing, and as a result there are far less christenings and baptisms taking place. Parents are choosing other methods to bring their children into this world and introduce them to everything there is to offer. There is nothing wrong with selecting another method, such as a baby-naming ceremony or foregoing such traditions altogether, however, as religion played a far larger part in the old world than it does today.
This guest post contribution was made by One Small Child, a specialty clothing company located in Idaho providing quality custom clothing for special children’s events