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What is a Christening vs a Baptism?

Welcoming a new child into the family is such an exciting time. If you have had a baby, you may be thinking about baptising or christening your child. What are the differences between these religious rites?


Baptism is a ceremony dating back before Christianity. It is one of the traditional sacraments that admits a person into the Christian community. Unlike a christening, a baptism is for all ages (apart from some religious groups that don't practise infant baptism). What-is-a-Christening-vs-a-Baptism-Boys-Foliage-Wreath Featured Design: 'Boys Foliage Wreath'


Christenings are a more recent ceremony, originating around the 14th century. A christening is similar to a baptism, but it focuses on the child's naming ceremony. The baby will be 'christened' with their name, and gifts are usually given to the parents. Because of this, christenings are for small children only. Many people today also view christenings as a more symbolic occasion than a strictly religious one. What is a Christening vs a Baptism? Cute Pink Church Featured Design: 'Cute Pink Church'

The Differences

~ A baptism is a traditional sacrament. A christening is a more modern rite. ~ A baptism is for any age. A christening is for babies and young children. ~ A baptism celebrates coming into the faith. A christening celebrates the child's naming ceremony.

Other Options

Some parents may not want a christening or baptism because it symbolises a commitment to a religion. If you feel the same way, you could choose to have a church blessing instead. This will allow you to host a special occasion for the child while leaving baptism for a date in the future when your little one can appreciate what it means. If you would prefer to have a non-religious occasion to formally welcome your baby into the world, you can always choose a humanist naming ceremony or 'naming day' instead. Naming ceremonies don't contain religious content, and you can hold them in any venue you want. People hold them for children of all ages, too, making them popular for welcoming an adopted child into the family.