Preparing for Baptism: Everything Parents and Godparents Need to Know About Christening Preparing for Baptism: Everything Parents and Godparents Need to Know About Christening

Preparing for Baptism: Everything Parents and Godparents Need to Know About Christening

3 read min.3 read min.
May, 2024May, 2024

Baptism is an important event in the life of a child and the family. It symbolizes the beginning of a new spiritual life. Baptisms often become the first celebration for a newborn baby. If you are becoming godparents for the first time or planning a baptism for your first child, you may feel excited and anxious. In this article, we have gathered everything about the baptism ceremony to familiarize you with the main preparation steps and mitigate the tension of the unknown.

How does the baptism ceremony take place?

The ceremony may vary slightly in different Christian denominations, but the main stages and symbolism remain similar. Usually, the ceremony is conducted by a priest in a church. The ritual can be divided into three main stages:

  1. Preparation for baptism: Parents need to contact the church where they plan to baptize their child and choose a baptism date. They will be informed about the necessary documents and further steps. In some churches, it is required to provide a baptism certificate of the future godparents and their church wedding certificate (if either of them is married). Additionally, in some churches, godparents must undergo special classes to learn more about their future responsibilities;
  2. Baptism: During the ceremony, the priest recites special prayers. The child is either sprinkled with water three times or, as in Catholic churches, immersed in the water. This symbolizes the cleansing from original sin. Afterward, the baby is wrapped in a white baptismal blanket, signifying the beginning of a new life free from sin;
  3. Blessing and anointing: The priest anoints the child with holy oil, representing the gift of the Holy Spirit. In some churches, this is the final stage, while in others, the last step is covering the mother’s head. A headscarf, shawl, or ceremonial scarf is used for this purpose.

After completing the main part, you can ask the priest to bless the gifts from the baptized parents, such as a cross pendant, pendant, or icon.

How long does the baptism ceremony last?

The duration of the ceremony depends on the denomination and specific features of the church. For example, if you hire a choir, the ceremony may take a bit longer. On average, it lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.

What do godparents need to know about the ceremony?

Godparents or baptized parents are guides for the child on their spiritual path. Therefore, it is best if they are close family members and practicing Christians. Keep in mind that according to church laws, non-baptized individuals cannot be godparents. This also applies to those in civil marriages or those who haven’t been married in the church. If you are baptizing your child for the first time, don’t worry – the priest will guide you through the necessary actions. However, it is essential for godparents to know a few short prayers as they are part of the baptism ceremony.

Baptism traditions and superstitions

Different countries and regions have their own traditions, superstitions, and even folklore associated with baptisms. For example, in Catholic churches, the term “baptismal blanket” refers to a small, often embroidered white napkin, not the white towel used in Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches, which is a full-size linen sheet in which the baby can be wrapped. Some churches require the blanket to be white, without any inscriptions or embroidery, while others allow cream or off-white tones with embroidery or other decorations. In the past, mothers were only allowed to enter the church 40 days after giving birth, but this tradition no longer applies in the majority of modern churches. There is also a common superstition that a pregnant woman cannot be a godmother, but this is not true. So, if your favorite friend or sister is expecting a baby, feel free to invite her to be the godmother of your child.

Remember that traditions and folk beliefs are merely local cultural elements. The main significance of baptism lies in its spiritual dimension and the birth of a new member into the larger Christian family.

We wish you and your baby a pleasant baptism and a happy future!

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