Special occasions are meant to be just that – special. Baptisms are perhaps the most widespread religious practice in several countries all around the world ,which makes traditions and customs like baptisms even more special. So, if you’re considering baptizing your child it might be a good idea to do some research beforehand. Let us help you by going over everything you need to know for your child’s upcoming ceremony. If you already know what to expect and are window shopping for the perfect outfit check out our baptism outfits page for some inspiration.
What is a baptism?
A baptism is an important celebration for parents who want their infant or child to adopt their beliefs and traditions. It is commonly seen as a spiritual rebirth and a milestone that you’ll want to remember for a lifetime. After all, this is a ceremony that marks an incredible journey for your child’s life.
What happens during a baptism?
The baptism act normally takes a couple of minutes. The baptism ceremony includes a priest either sprinkling holy water on your child’s head and/or partially to fully immersing your child in blessed water. However, depending on how grand and elaborate you’d like the rest of the party to be, you could be celebrating for a couple of hours or all night. The ceremony is highly liturgical and although the process may vary according to the parents’ preferences, most Christian and Catholic baptism ceremonies consist of the following:
- During the reception of the child, the priest usually greets the parents and child and makes the sign of the cross on the child’s head.
- A celebration of God’s word or a mass is then followed, the priest will offer readings and prayers for the child and the parents and anoints the child with oil.
- Next is the celebration of the Sacrament, the priest blesses the water then asks the parents to renounce sin, and baptizes the child with water.
- Explanatory rites soon follows, this is when the priest blesses the child with oil from his crown. Children usually wear a baptism gown or other type of white garments while a family member or godparent lights a candle to symbolize enlightenment.
- Lastly, a conclusion of the rite, the priest will end the ceremony by saying the Lord’s prayer and blesses the child.
What can I expect during a christening ceremony?
If you’ve had the honor of being invited to a baptism, it’s good to keep in mind some basic etiquette and to know what to expect during the event. There are some slight variations according to religion but some elements remain pretty consistent:
- Baptisms are normally conducted in a church by a priest. Most will follow this tradition unless there’s an emergency that requires an alternative location.
- The parents of the child are usually members of the select church, but you can also visit different churches for more information if you are not already a member.
- Baptism ceremonies typically involve some effort from all members of the family and community.
- Close friends and family members are invited to attend the baptism.
- A reception or party follows to celebrate the child’s initiation into the faith.
Are all baptisms the same?
Yes and no. Although most baptisms involve your child being showered in some holy water, the details will rely heavily upon the church that is chosen and the child's parents. More traditional churches will rely heavily on rituals and traditions and may recite the blessings and prayers in Latin, whereas more contemporary churches may prefer to conduct the ceremony in English. Some churches will also conduct emergency baptisms to accommodate their member’s needs and other churches may alter the program to meet the desires of the child's parents.
How do I select a church for our baptism ceremony?
If you are a parent who is not active in the religious community, then a little shopping around for a priest who is willing to accommodate your infant's baptism is in order. Parents who are active church and mass members will almost always choose to have their child baptized by a priest in their current church. So, essentially, the simplest way to organize and lodge your child's baptism is to already be a practicing and active member of a church.
What is the role of godparents at a baptism?
Godparents are chosen by the parents of the child that is being baptized. There is a common understanding that godparents will serve as a guardian of the child if something were to happen to the child’s parents. Parents will usually choose someone who is very trusted and close to the family since they will serve a pivotal role of caring for their godchild’s spiritual and physical well-being. A couple is chosen to fulfill this position in the infant’s life and thus a portion of the ceremony will focus on them. In more conservative churches, godparents are always practicing Christians or Catholics who honor the sacraments and fulfill a list of qualifications, such as having been baptized. However, in more liberal environments, any person whom the child's parents choose may be granted this role. In certain religions, it is customary for the godparent to present a keepsake-like gift to the child, most appropriately being silver. While in others, the godparents act as sponsors and will either fully or partially pay for the baptism outfit and may share the monetary responsibilities with the child’s parents.
What are some familiar symbols used in Baptism ceremony?
There are five universal symbols of baptism: the cross, a white garment, oil, water, and light. Other familiar symbols include the baptismal font, scriptural readings and prayers, and godparents. These symbols represent the philosophies and teachings of the Christian religion and the traditions and rituals of an individual church and its congregation. A Baptism is one of the sacraments of the church, and babies being baptized are welcomed as members of the religious community. It is part of the Christian faith that once a baby has been baptized, they become a member of the family of God.
How should I dress a child for baptism?
Parents and godparents dress the baby in a white gown called a christening gown for the baptism ceremony. Christening gowns often become treasured keepsakes that could be used by other children in the family and can be handed down from generation to generation. Traditionally, this gown is white or offwhite and made with much lace, trim, ribbons, and intricate stitching often portraying religious symbols, such as the cross. In the past, a gown was used for both boys and girls; in the present day, it has become more common to dress children in a baptismal outfit. Baptism outfits are normally made of white fabric and other accessories. These clothes are often kept as a memento after the ceremony.
Why is white clothing a symbol of baptism?
White is the color of purity and wearing a white garment during a baptism symbolizes that the person being baptized now has a clean slate in the eyes of God. The white garment symbolizes that the baptized person is now clothed in the mantle of God and will start a clean life in his eyes and in the eyes of the church. Baptismal gowns, white stoles, scapular or bibs are very common and usually bear the sign of the cross. The color white speaks of life, purity, newness, innocence, and it is also a sign of resurrection. White baptism outfits are a part of the ceremony and symbolize your child’s new life in Christ. Parents or godparents are usually responsible for choosing the child’s white garment before the baptism or providing such a garment after the baptismal sacrament. If your family has a baptism gown that you want to use, it is important to let your priest know beforehand.
What makes a good baby baptism outfit?
In the present-day it has become more common to dress children in baptismal knickers; the onesie makes it more comfortable for the baby and easier for the infant to remain in their outfit during the ceremony. Normally, this garment is made of white fabric or other light colors. The outfit consists of a romper with a vest and other accessories such as a hat for boys or a bonnette for girls. A traditional Catholic one-piece would be adorned with symbols of the cross, a rosary, prayer hands, or Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since the parents would want to keep these mementos to mark such an important milestone for their child, usually, these outfits include other intricate embroidered details and some added embellishments like pearls or appliques.
What should a girl's baptism dress look like?
A girl’s baptism dress should be white or light-colored and adorned with lace or stitched details. The embellishments can also be white, gold or cream-colored. Although the dress will be the main focus on your child’s beautiful day, no outfit can be complete without the complementing accessories. These would include white shoes, a matching headband, tiara or bonnette, and many parents choose to add religious jewelry to the ensemble as a finishing touch.
What should baptism outfits for boys look like?
There are various styles of baptism outfits for boys, choosing one is mostly about preference and traditions. Parents who want to embrace their Mexican heritage, for example, may decide to dress their little one in a charro baptism outfit. This includes a typical charro jacket and pants with the customary trimming you see amongst traditional Mexican musicians, a bow tie, and sometimes the charro hat. More formal parents would decide on a white three-piece suit which constitutes of a white shirt, vest, straight pants, and to top it off, a white flat-cap or boina-cap. A more light-weight boy’s baptism outfit would be a white, embroidered guayabera. Also adorned with beautiful embellishments, the guayabera is a short sleeve, collared shirt normally worn in hot weather and is made of cotton, linen, or silk.
Are there any baptism outfit rules?
Both boys and girls often wear long white christening gowns when being baptized. Babies can be baptized by immersion where the baby's body is placed in water or by pouring the water over the baby's forehead. The choice is sometimes made by the parents, but more often than not, the church. For immersion baptisms, the baby wears normal clothes to the ceremony and white garments afterward to signify purity and the washing away of the original sin. During a pouring baptism, the baby wears the same clothes throughout the ceremony and celebration that follows.
How much should baptism outfits cost?
There are countless styles of baptism outfits to suit any budget. Prices can range from $50 for lower-priced gowns to almost $1000 for some of the finer garments. Some of the best deals can be found from online retailers, which also provide convenient and stress-free shopping. It is up to you how much you’re willing to spend on this joyous occasion and the amount of work and detail you’d like portrayed on your little one’s keepsake.
Where can I find good quality baptism outfits?
With today’s technology, you can buy baptism outfits online that are affordable but have good workmanship. You want to keep an eye out for reputable websites and sellers that have longer experience making these attires. Keep in mind that you’ll want to be able to find comfortable fabrics so the little one isn’t fussy during the ceremony, so dedicate a little extra time to contact the manufacturers to get more details on their christening clothes. You can find these baptism outfits by visiting www.detailsandtraditions.com
What should I know before my child’s baptism?
Although a child’s baptism is an important and joyous occasion, it is one of the easier religious ceremonies you can plan. However, there are a few key points you should know prior:
- First make sure you know the requirements of the church where the christening will happen. Different places of worship may have stricter rules than others. For example, some churches don’t allow godparents that aren’t married.
- If you and your spouse have slightly varying religious customs, requirements might differ, so confirm what both of you would prefer best for your child’s special occasion.
- Knowing the best date for the baptism is important if you want to make sure certain family members or friends can attend.
- Establish a budget and decide if godparents will help with some of the expenses. Keep in mind how grand of a festivity this baptism will be, whether you're planning on just the baptism or if you’ll be holding a party afterward. Having clear expectations will help better distribute the funds for this special celebration.
- Keep track of all of the items you’ll be taking to and from the ceremony. Remember that you’ll have to provide a candle to be lit, a bible, and a towel to dry off your child after the baptism.
- Some parents also choose to give out religious party favors to their guests.
If you've been invited to attend a baptism or you are planning one for your own child, understanding the ceremony and the meaning behind the baptism can help make the entire ceremony more meaningful and enjoyable. Don’t forget to do a little research to find the right place, outfit, and gifts for this occasion. But most importantly, enjoy this beautiful tradition that will continue to be cherished for generations.