Alternate Activity 2: Baptisms and Naming Ceremonies
Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Leader Resource 2, Rituals to Welcome a New Child
- Drawing paper and crayons/markers
Preparation for Activity
- Print Leader Resource 2.
Description of Activity
Children explore ways different religions celebrate a birth.
Tell the group they will make name poems.
Distribute drawing paper and crayons/markers. Ask children to write their first name vertically along the left-hand side of their paper, like this:
Challenge participants to think of a word or phrase that starts with each letter which describes them or is important to them. For example,
Loves coming to church
Give children a few minutes to think, discuss, and write. Help children write, as needed.
Invite sharing. Ask participants what they like or do not like about their name. Affirm that our names are important to us-so important that many cultures have traditions for naming babies.
Share this information with the group, showing Leader Resource 2 if you choose:
Jewish families might have a naming ceremony in a synagogue, where a rabbi gives blessings to the new baby. There is also a special ceremony for boys, held when the baby is eight days old.
A Hindu family might have a naming ceremony, between a baby's 10th day of life and first birthday. The mother or father will whisper the name they have chosen into the baby's ear, before the name is announced to family members and guests.
Many cultures hold naming ceremonies for babies. Sometimes they are religious and sometimes not.
Ask if anyone has ever been to a naming ceremony.
Other religions have different ways of welcoming babies. Some Christian families might have a baby baptized. A minister or priest will touch the baby with water which has been blessed so it is considered holy. Aside from being a blessing, like a child dedication, the ritual welcomes the child into the faith community and provides an opportunity for family and church members to dedicate themselves to helping the child become a good Christian. At a baptism, people who are close to the family might be named a godfather or godmother for the baby. That means they agree to help protect the child and to guide the child to live by their religious faith. Infant baptisms are sometimes called christenings.
Ask, "Do you think other major religions consider life sacred, too?" Affirm that they do, though they sometimes show it in different ways.
Ask if there are any questions about ways different religions celebrate new life.