Baby naming ceremonies are always wonderful to do. They are usually informal occasions full of happiness and love. Very often, other children attend the ceremony, sharing their bubbling energy and sometimes causing a bit of chaos when they decide to do their own thing.
These children keep reminding me of the fact that good preparation and a clear structure is crucial for a ceremony to succeed but that flexibility and improvisation are the real keys in creating a relaxing and nice atmosphere where everyone can feel at ease.
Recently, I conducted a baby naming ceremony for two children: a two-month old boy and his big sister who was celebrating her second birthday. As part of the ceremony, the parents planted an apple tree. The two-year old girl proudly poured water over the roots of the tree, feeding it with her smiles and energy.
Planting a tree is a wonderful way to symbolise the growth of a family. The symbolic associations related to a young tree are endless. For this ceremony, we touched upon the following themes:
Roots – traditions and values
The roots of a tree refer to the roots of the children’s lives: their families, the places where they were born, and the values that their parents want to share with their little ones.
Fruit – sharing and giving
The apples that the tree will be carrying forward refer to the talents of the children and everything that they might be sharing and giving throughout their lives to others.
Care – a nourishing environment
It requires care for a tree to grow and give fruit. A tree needs good soil, water and sunshine to flourish. This symbolises the care of parents for their children. When children can grow up in a healthy, positive and nourishing environment, they will grow, develop their talents and become happy people.
Heavy weather – dealing with sadness
For a tree to grow it sometimes involves pain and grief. Dark clouds and heavy rains may challenge the tree. It might lose some of its branches. This symbolises the pain and disappointments that we all face in our lives. In order to grow, children will also face sad moments and will need to find a way to deal with them.
When parents and children together take care of the tree, it will be able to flourish and feed its environment.
Together, a family will be able to cope with difficult times and share the happy moments. The tree will then become a beautiful and strong house, providing nourishment and shelter, a source of giving and sharing.
Planting a tree is a gift for life. If you plant it in your own garden, it will remind you of the precious gift of life every day and the joy and grief that it requires to grow and flourish, as individuals and as a family.
And if the tree bears fruit you may even consider creating a little annual ritual to celebrate your life as a family: bake your favourite fruit cake on the naming anniversary and share it with the people you love!