The birth of a baby is a cause of celebration for parents all across the globe. Different cultures honor the arrival of a newborn in different ways and each is unique in its own right. Here are some of the traditions associated with baby naming ceremonies around the world.
Christians generally don't have a separate baby naming ceremony. Many Christians combine the baby's naming ceremony along with the Christening of the baby. This allows all close family and friends to be present for both important occasions.
Some Christians prefer to have a separate baby naming ceremony as a special occasion to welcome their child. Such a ceremony is generally held at home since it is not religious in nature. It follows a pattern very similar to that of co-ed baby showers. The parents often make a speech to welcome the baby into the world or read passages that depict how they feel.
The Japanese baby naming ceremony is traditionally held on the seventh day after the baby's birth. A baby is given a first name and a last name with no middle name. The name is usually written in kanji or Chinese characters, which can have multiple pronunciations.
Infant Jewish girls undergo the Zeved Habat ceremony and boys the Berit Milah ceremony. The Zeved Habat is generally held at home or privately in a synagogue. The ceremony is led by the Rabbi. The mother offers thanks, the Song of Songs (from the Jewish prayer book) is recited and the name giving prayer is said. A priestly blessing may also be bestowed upon the baby. The Berit Milah is the naming and circumcision ceremony for Jewish boys along with a lavish feast for all guests.
For Hindus, the Namkaran or naming ceremony is often commemorated with a havan (sacred fire) on the 12 th day after the baby's birth. The baby's father whispers the name into the baby's ears and then announces it to the world. The baby's name is also written in the Janam patri (Hindu astrological document). The Janam patri name should begin with a letter given by the pundit based on the time and place of birth of the baby. This name is used for all future sacred rites observed for and by the baby. Many families now have two names for the baby ? one is the Janam patri name and the other the legal name as on the birth certificate. In some Hindu communities the father's sister is given the honor of naming the little one.
While it is popular and respectful in European and American cultures to name the baby after a parent or grandparent, most Asians cultures would frown upon that. The simple reason being that in most Asian cultures one does not take the name of one's elders. Hence to name your son or daughter after your parent means you would continually be calling out your parent's first name. That's considered a sign of disrespect and hence a big no-no.
In Sierra Leone , a baby is named only after the umbilical cord has dropped off. Prior to that it is believed that the baby does not yet have an identity of its own. During the ceremony the baby's hair is shaved off and the paternal aunt offers chewed kola nut and pepper to the baby from her own mouth. This is to wish the baby a long and brave life.