Baptism the Italian way

Baptize in a church or have your own welcoming ceremony? Most new parents want to welcome their new baby with a celebration. Bettina and Francesco from Älvsjö welcomed their babies with a baptism in southern Italy.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – A spiritual Italian baptism in a church.
Photo: Private

For Bettina and Francesco, there was no doubt in their minds that their two children Lidia and Elisa would be baptized in church. For one, they are both religious and Bettina wanted to “register our daughters in the book of life.” But they also wanted the chance to introduce their fantastic girls and pay tribute to them in an official context.

We wanted to pass on a nice tradition.

Bettina tells us how they chose the location and what traditions were important to them.

“All of Francesco’s family live in Italy, and because we live in Sweden we thought it felt right to have the baptism down there. We wanted to pass on a nice tradition, too. The church that our girls were baptized in is the same as Francesco and I were married in, that he and his brother were baptized in and that his parents were married in. Who knows – maybe even our girls will get married there one day and baptize their own children!”

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – The daughter’s church baptism ceremony, the priest pours water over her head.
Bettina and Francesco live in Älvsjö, Sweden. They chose to baptize both their children in their “family church” in Italy.
Photo: Private

A typical Italian baptism is very spiritual and joyful. And the most important thing for Bettina and her family was that the children received a blessing and that they got to celebrate and pay tribute to their children along with their relatives.

Selecting a memorable christening gift

If you’re invited to a baptism, it’s a good idea to start thinking about choosing a gift a bit ahead of time. New parents usually have everything they need when it comes to baby clothes and toys.

So, what’s good to have as a keepsake when the baby is a little older? Bettina offers her best tips for a classic, contemporary christening gift.

“I think all jewelry is appropriate since the child can wear it to commemorate their baptism. Or a “Book about Me,” where parents can record different details about their child’s upbringing, also makes a good gift that their child can appreciate as an adult. Or a beautiful photo album.”

4 baptism tips

The word “baptism” comes from the word for “immersion.” Apart from the baptism ritual of pouring water over the baby’s head, which the priest does, you as the parent can decide on much of the ceremony yourselves.

Here are Bettina’s best tips for making your baptism extra memorable.

  1. Select a church that you both like or have some kind of connection to.
  2. Meet the priest beforehand and talk through what baptism means to you.
  3. Find a beautiful song or poem to dedicate to your baby – it gives your ceremony a personal touch.
  4. Throw a great party after the church ceremony!

About baptism and naming your baby

Naming a baby often plays a central role in baptism. But in more formal (and prosaic) terms, you’ll usually name your baby through another ritual – filling in a lot of paperwork.

As the parent or guardian, you’re best off thinking about your baby’s name in advance since it is much easier to apply for a birth certificate at the time of birth.

In Sweden, as legal guardian you register your baby’s first name with the Swedish Tax Agency within three months of their birth.*

Most faiths and cultures have a ceremony to mark the birth of a baby. Baptism is a Christian ritual. You can also arrange a nondenominational, interfaith or naming ceremony, or simply create your own celebration to announce your baby’s name to the world.

*Source: Swedish Tax Agency