As a predominantly Christian country, Christenings in Italy are a big deal. It is a celebration of a child’s life and an event that marks their welcome into the Christian faith. The Italians follow Christening traditions that are in line with Christianity and have some traditions of their own.
1. The Ceremony
The Christening takes place in a church and usually on a Sunday during a regular mass. Friends and family are invited to share the celebration.
2. The Christening Robe
Babies, both boys, and girls, traditionally wear a Christening robe in white. While some parents buy a new robe for the ceremony, others have robes that are a family heirloom. These are passed down from one generation to the next. Sometimes, the baby wears a pink or blue ribbon on the robe as a symbol of their gender.
3. The Godparents
In Christening across the world, Godparents are chosen for the child. In Italian Christenings, the Godparents are much more involved in the event than in other cultures. For example, they are responsible for buying the Christening robe if the parents are not using a family heirloom. The Godparents also pay for any accessories the child wears. The parents of the child being Christened usually buy a gift for the Godparents as a token of their appreciation
Guests at the Christening are presented with a gift of five sugared almonds as they leave the ceremony. It is traditional for the parents to host a Christening party following the ceremony. This is either a large home-cooked meal in their home or at the church hall.
5. Christening Gifts
The Christening guests present the baby with a gift. These are typically items with religious significance, such as a crucifix, a cross pendant or a rosary. Alternatively, they will buy a personalized gift that commemorates the date of the Christening and the child’s name.