Having a ritual within your baby or child’s ceremony is a wonderful addition and great way to involve others, be that just a few loved ones or all of your guests. Rituals can be done against the backdrop of a chosen song, a hand-picked reading or within a moment of reflective silence.
These ritual ideas can be adapted, combined to suit or can be used for inspiration to create your own meaningful ritual. The symbolism involved can be personalised to work for you and your family.
A sand ceremony can include parents, “supporting adults,” siblings, wider family or even all guests pouring sand of different colours into a container which can be sealed and kept as a memento.
Planting bulbs, saplings or plants in a garden or pot can be another lasting way to involve others. They can be planted by a few chosen people or with the help of all guests, each adding a sprinkle of soil. The soil can represent the emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical nourishment and support each person will give your baby/child as they grow in life.
Optional readings for planting ceremony:
“The Garden of Life” by Maggie Dent
“Children are seedlings in the garden of life.
They need sunshine and warmth, when they are cold and sad;
They need water and nourishment, when they are thirsty and hungry.
They need attention and care, when they are challenged by life.
And the need to be loved, appreciated and held in awe of their potential,
to be unique, beautiful and like no other.
Search for the hero within yourself and then be there for our kids.
Please feel, listen and care with your heart and soul and you will become,
A valued gardener in the garden of life and one day,
A child may hold a special memory of you forever,
hidden deep in their heart.”
“My Parents’ Garden,” by Anon
“My parents are planting a garden – a garden of the heart,
They’re planting all the good things to give my life its start.
They’ll turn me to the sunshine and encourage me to dream,
Fostering and nurturing the seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rain come,
they’ll protect me well enough,
But not too much, because they know
I’ll need to stand up strong and tough.
Their constant good example will teach me right from wrong,
Markers for my pathway to last a lifetime long.
I am my parents’ garden, I am their legacy,
And I hope they’ll always feel the love reflected back from me.”
A rose bud is dipped in water. The bud represents the potential of new life and is touched on different parts of the baby’s body. You can involve more than 1 person to touch the rose on your baby.
Chosen loved ones or all guests can place fresh or dried flowers in a vase. You can choose what the flowers represent or have flowers which hold special meaning for you, such as the flower which represents the month of your baby’s birth, the same type of flowers you had in your wedding bouquet, or something else.
This is a good one for involving all guests. Starting from back of the room a few guests light their candle and then share its flame with those around them. This continues, with guests spreading the flame towards the front of the room, where finally, you light a candle for your baby – the warmth of the fire representing the love from all present.
Unity candle lighting
This can involve siblings, close family, guide parents or you as parents only. 2 candles are lit by adults, then a central candle is lit representing your baby/child. Or you could use a multi-wick candle, each wick representing a chosen family member.
Time capsule/Memory box
Things can be put into the box during the ceremony such as a scan picture, photocopy of birth certificate, other pictures, meaningful objects, greeting cards from others, a loving letter to your baby/child from you, and other things.
This memory box/time capsule can be opened after a chosen amount of years, on a special birthday or opened each year, looked at and added too. You don’t have to bury your time capsule, unless you want to, you can securely close it and put it somewhere special in your home.
Finger print tree/balloon
You can involve close and extended family or all guests to add their finger print to a picture of a bare tree, and write their name under their finger print leaf. An alternative base picture is of a balloon basket, with your loved ones fingerprints creating the balloons which will carry your baby to new heights. If having a small amount of guests this could be completed during the ceremony. If many guests, only a few people can do it within the ceremony and others add to it during the after celebrations.
Finger print & finger print animals/flower/people certificate
During the ceremony immediate family add their finger prints around the edge of a preprepared “Baby Naming Certificate.” Contributors then add details in pen to create an animal/flower or face/person. After the ceremony other guests if wanted, do the same.
You can invite guests or selected family, eg parents, siblings, to create easy artwork of some kind – this is especially good if your child is old enough to join in. For example create a sculpture; painting of hand prints of close family and baby/child; squiggles and dots of paint or glitter onto glue; or siblings and parents (and child if able) draw themselves (stick people are ok) adding their name to their drawing. A selected few can take part during the ceremony and if wanted, when the ceremony’s finished all guests can be invited to add to the picture. Later the picture or painting can be put in frame and hung in pride of place at home.
Bubbles can be a way for family and guests to “visibly” blow their wishes towards your baby/child, in effect, showering them with wishes.
All guests write card labels with what they wish for your baby/child, then the labels are placed on a tree – either a real tree outside, an artificial small twig tree on a table or pegged an a line of string. At the end of the celebrations, the labels are collected up and put in special box to keep.
Guests write cards during the ceremony of a piece of wisdom they’re passing on, or their wishes for your little one. The cards are collected up and over the years you and your child can enjoy reading them together.
Representing the source of life, or whatever it symbolises for you, water can be dabbed onto your baby’s forehead, hands or feet. You may wish some blessing words or poem to be said at this time.
Pebbles and Marbles
Pebbles or marbles or can be put in a jar or bowl by each guest to create a monument that can be placed in the home. Each marble or pebble can represent a wish each guest has for your baby/child.
An adaptation for after your guests have held their pebble whilst thinking their best hopes for your little one, is for the pebbles to be placed into a bowl of water. This water can then be sprinkled on your baby or child, representing sprinkling everyone’s best hopes and wishes onto them.
Poetry, reading or lyrics
Selected family or guests can read a line or few of a poem, lyrics or alike. If wanting to involve everyone, having a responsive reading of some sort can be great for this.
Everyone sing your baby/child’s favourite nursery rhyme, a meaningful song or the chorus of a song as a way to pledge their support.
Rituals from your heritage, culture or religion
There may be rituals from your cultural heritage or religious background which you want to include as they are, or sensitively adapt to suit your family.
Build your own ritual
With ritual it’s all about the symbolism and meaning it has for you, so feel welcome to build and create your own ritual using the objects, wording and people which matter most to you.