A Naming Day Ceremony always seems to confuse people – especially anyone who has been asked to be a sponsor for the child, or to say a few words, or give short speech to mark the event.
The problem which some people have is that they feel they are treading on eggs and they don’t want to say the wrong thing or upset either of the parents or the family by saying anything religious.
In fact, if you go online looking for suggestions about what to say at a naming ceremony speech, time and time again you will come up against the ‘religious’ dimension. It comes in the form of ‘BUT’.
‘Here’s a lovely poem that you might quote, BUT you’ll have to leave out the religious parts… or ‘Here’s a lovely traditional Irish blessing, BUT I’m not sure if a blessing of any sort will be welcome at a Naming Ceremony.
But what is acceptable?
The answer to this question is simple – anything you say that is joyful, uplifting, happy and thoughtful is very welcome. After all, this is a wonderfully joyful, uplifting and happy event.
If you have to give a naming ceremony speech, my advice to you is: think of the three most important things about the naming ceremony itself and say something joyful and uplifting about each of them. For example:
1. The day itself – tell everyone how happy – and honored – you are to be selected to say a few words on this very special day.
2. The name of the new child – talk about why the parents selected this name. Tell everyone about the meaning of the name and the connection that it has with the family. And tell everyone how this name is now going to mean something very special to you for the rest of your life.
3. The beautiful child – tell everyone what a darling child he/she is with both the mother’s beauty in his/her looks and the father’s charm in his/her happy smile.
And then why not use one of the most beautiful love poems of all times to praise and extol the beauty and virtues of this lovely child. It’s William Shakespeare – Sonnet #18
Shall I compare thee (Insert Child’s name) to a Summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade (Insert Child’s name)
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest…
This is such a beautiful sonnet to say aloud over the child at a naming day ceremony, that I’m sure you will be a big success. This, of course is only an example of what you might say. But, as a professional speechwriter my experience always is that ‘Poetry’ – especially the poetry of well known poets – is almost a religious dimension in itself when it is spoken in a sincere and meaningful way.
Alternatively, if you are a good singer, you could announce that you would like to sing a special song for this special child. Stand beside the child when you are singing the song and place your hand on the child’s cradle as you finish.
So let me give it to you again.
1. Start by introducing yourself and telling everyone how happy and honored you are to be here on this wonderful day at this happy event.
2. Talk about the child’s name. Do your research in advance and tell everyone what the name means and why the parents have chosen this name for their child. Tell everyone that you think it’s a lovely name.
3. Tell everyone that the lovely child and the happy event combine to remind you of an uplifting piece of poetry. And then go on to read the uplifting piece of poetry with sincere feeling. Alternatively, if you are a good singer, you may prefer to sing a song.
But, whatever you do, don’t use rhyming doggerel. Use really great poetry and you won’t go wrong.