Guide to Planning a Greek Baptism for Non-Greeks
Are you planning a Greek baptism as a non-Greek? Since baptism is such an important part of the child’s life, it’s a big celebration. Family and friends gather for the ceremony and the reception that follows. What this means for you is that there are a number of plans that have to be made in order for the baptism to be a successful one. Here is an overview of exactly what you need to do.
Talk to Your Priest
The very first thing you’ll need to do is talk to the child’s Orthodox priest. Once he knows about the birth of the child, you can begin to plan things with the church. You’ll need to set the date for the baptism, choose the Godparent, and make sure that he has everything he needs to perform the ceremony. The priest can also answer any questions you have about what is expected and how to get prepared.
Choose the Godparent
Since the Godparent is the official sponsor of the baptism, it’s important to make sure you make a great choice. The godparent will not only be an integral part of the ceremony itself, he is essentially responsible for the spiritual upbringing of the child. This is an important role and one that needs to be taken seriously, so you’ll need to work with the priest to make the right choice.
If the child is the firstborn, you will likely choose your Koumbaros or Koumbara from the parents’ wedding. However, review the choices with your priest just to be sure. After the godparent is chosen, you’ll also want to select a gift for him that you will give during the reception.
Decide Who Pays for What
There are two basic parts of the Christening – the ceremony at the church and the reception. The basic rule of who pays is that the godparent pays for anything related to the ceremony, including what the priest needs, and the parents pay for anything that doesn’t relate to the ceremony, such as the reception. However, even though this is the basic guideline, there are exceptions to the rule. It’s best to discuss the issue of who will pay with your godparent so everything can be planned accordingly.
Inviting the Guests
Since the baptism is an important moment in the child’s life, this means the family will want to share it with everyone they care about. The ceremony often takes place on a Sunday after the regular church service. The guest list tends to be fairly large. As a non-Greek, you may not have experienced this. The idea is that they want to share this special moment with everyone they care about. Since Greek families tend to be fairly large, the guest list will be, too.
Plan the Reception
It’s customary to invite the guests to a reception at the conclusion of the ceremony. The type of reception, in a lot of ways, will depend on how many people you’re inviting and what your budget is. It can be at someone’s home, at a local restaurant, or at a function hall.
Should you have the reception at someone’s home? This is a good choice if on a limited budget. However, it may be difficult if your space is small and your guest list is fairly large. You will also want to select the favors. The traditional choice is Koufeta, the white, candy coated almonds that are distributed in white bags to the guests.
As you can see, there are a few important things that need to get planned out for the baptism. Once you select the godparent, organize the church, and plan the reception, all that’s left is to enjoy the day!
Categorized in: Greek Christening Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston