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Humanist Baby Naming Ceremonies

Humanist Naming and Welcoming ceremonies are held to welcome a new life into the family, the community and to the world.  These simple ceremonies are full of joy as this wonderful occasion is celebrated while recognising the responsibility that comes with this new life.

Q: What is a Humanist Naming & Welcoming Ceremony?

A: Throughout history, in countries all over the world, ceremonies have been used
to mark and celebrate important events in people’s lives. Many of us find that a
formal occasion of this kind can be very significant and enjoyable. At a Humanist
Naming/Welcoming ceremony the parent has the opportunity to declare publicly
their love for their child and their aspirations for the child’s future. You can make this
declaration among family and friends in a meaningful and significant ceremony. My
ceremonies are very personal and I will work with you to put together
a ceremony that is right for you and your child/children.

Q: Where can a Humanist Naming & Welcoming Ceremony be held?

A: Many people choose to hold the ceremonies in their own homes (often in the
garden, weather permitting). Otherwise they are normally held in a local hotel,
community/sports centre or GAA club. Woodlands & parks are good venues too.

Q: What is the format of the ceremony?

A: A ceremony will typically comprise some or all of the following elements:

an introduction and welcome

some words about the joys and responsibilities of being a parent and the
potential of the child we are welcoming

some words on the importance of the support of the wider family and

lighting of candles by grandparents to symbolise the two strands of the
family to which the child belongs

a declaration of commitment / vows to the child from the parent/s.

a formal naming (often with an explanation of the child’s name/s)

the appointment of adult sponsors/mentors/guide parents (a secular
equivalent to godparents)

readings (poetry or prose or specially written words) from family and or

the giving of symbolic/personal gifts (ie a ball to symbolise friendship)


a closing thanks and farewell to all those in attendance.

a memory/scrap book for the child where people can make
comments and wishes and add drawings/photos etc.

Q: How long does a ceremony typically last for?

A: Naming/Welcoming ceremonies typically take anything from 15 mins – 30 mins, it’s up to you. 

Q: Is a Humanist Naming & Welcoming Ceremony the right choice for my family?

A: Humanist Naming/Welcoming ceremonies are simple and personal occasions.
Humanists have no belief in a god or the supernatural, relying on scientific evidence
and appreciation of the world around us and the achievements of humans. So our
ceremonies are non-religious, secular occasions. They are designed to be a
positive option for those who share the same philosophical belief system as
Humanists whether you wish to call yourself a Humanist or not, and even whether
you are a member of any Humanist association or not. Please think carefully about
this choice. If you think you don’t share the same philosophy, or you actually believe
in a god or the supernatural, then perhaps a Humanist ceremony is not the right
choice for you.

Q: I am non-religious but my partner is religious – is there a ceremony that will embrace both our sets of beliefs?

A: One of the tenets of Humanism is a tolerance for others who hold different belief
systems, therefore everyone feels included during a Humanist ceremony. A
Humanist Naming/Welcoming ceremony does not however aim to copy a religious
christening but is a simple and moving occasion in its own right.

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