Managing Family Expectations for the Greek Christening
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It’s time for your child’s Greek Orthodox Christening. You know exactly what you want to do. The problem is, your family knows what you should do and these two ideas conflict slightly. Your family has certain expectations based on their own traditions, and all you want is to have a simple ceremony. How do you deal with this situation? Here are a few tips for managing family expectations during your child’s Christening.
Understand what is Really Necessary
Yes, it is possible to have a Christening that is completely bare bones. A lot of what we’ve come to expect from Greek Christenings is based more on tradition than religious significance. Technically speaking, all you really need is to select a godparent who is worthy of the job, the items that the priest needs for the ceremony, the cross, and to be sure that the child is ready to take part in the two sacraments.
Inviting People – or Not
One big thing you will need to decide is who will attend the Christening. You can make the guest list as small or as large as you want. Do what you are comfortable with and don’t let your family pressure you into inviting more people than you would like. If you want an intimate ceremony, explain to your family your thought process and then stick to your guns.
Whether or Not to Have a Reception
You don’t actually need to have a reception after the Christening. It’s not mandatory and often people choose to have a small, intimate ceremony and they skip the reception all together. This aspect of the celebration is nice – but not mandatory. It’s up to the family how (or even if) they choose to celebrate afterwards.
Giving the Traditional Favors
No matter if you choose to have a reception or not, the question of distributing the traditional favors will no doubt arise. These are the Koufeta, or candy covered almonds, and the Matyrika, or small cross keepsake with a ribbon.
Since they are traditional, they may be expected. However, they aren’t necessary from a religious standpoint so, it is up to you if you want to participate in this tradition or not.
Choose a Worthy Godparent
Another area where your family may place pressure on you is in choosing a godparent. If the child is your first-born, tradition dictates that the Koumbaros or Koumbara will become the godparent. However, if they can’t do it or if the child is not your first-born, you will need to select someone.
Ultimately, you want to select someone who will be right for the job. This means that he or she will be up to the task of being in charge of your child’s spiritual upbringing. Select someone with whom you are comfortable with and don’t succumb to outside pressure if you disagree with someone else’s choice.
When planning your child’s Christening, it is easy to forget what’s really important. The goal is to plan a Christening that you are happy with while also managing your family’s expectations. When in doubt, consult with your priest about the right and wrong way to do things.
Categorized in: Greek Christening Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston