Planning the Greek Christening

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ChristeningAfter a child is born, there are certain things that an Orthodox Christian needs to do in order to insure that the baby is properly introduced to the faith. It starts with the forty day blessing which is followed by the Christening shortly after. However, the Christening is about more than just setting a date and showing up. There are some preparations that need to be made.

Select the Godparents
The first thing that the family needs to do is select the godparent or godparents. If the child is your first born, either the Koumbaros or Koumbara is traditionally chosen. Otherwise, anyone who is worthy of the job and is also an Orthodox Christian of good standing can be selected. Bear in mind that the godparents are also responsible for providing the priest and the baby with items for the ceremony.

Choose People for the Ceremony
There are other people that participate in the ceremony who need to be selected. First, it is customary to choose two assistants to remove the baby’s clothing during the ceremony. The assistants are normally the grandmothers but can also be close friends of the family. Two people are also selected to walk with the two smaller candles.

Planning the Reception
While the godparents are responsible for purchasing the items for the ceremony, it’s the parents that handle the reception and celebration that follows. The overall point is to share the joy of the occasion with the guests.

The only thing that really matters is that you find a way to celebrate the occasion. So, you can serve dessert, lunch, dinner, and even plan an elaborate reception at a function hall. The goal is to select something that makes sense for your guests and to stay within budget.

Sending Out the Invitations
Once you set a date for the Christening your next step is to make a guest list and invite people to attend. You can either do this by word of mouth, traditional paper invitations, or invite people online. Note that you are not to put the baby’s name on the invitation because the name isn’t officially given until after the Baptism is completed.

Choosing Favors
Favors are traditionally given during the reception to thank people for attending. The standard favor is the candy-coated almonds, or Koufeta, which are arranged in odd numbers in small, mesh bags. If other favors are also chosen, it is still customary to give the Koufeta.

Gift for the Godparents
 It is also a good idea for the parents to select a gift for the godparents. The gift itself doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it is a token of gratitude for taking care of the child’s spiritual health and for being a part of his life. Gift ideas include baby related keepsakes, a picture of the child in a special frame, a cross, or other religious gifts such as an icon.

Planning a Christening is about more than setting a date and selecting the godparents. Keep this point in mind so that the ceremony and celebration will go as smoothly as possible.

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