When Humanist Society Scotland celebrants meet with parents to plan a naming ceremony, they will ask if you would like to incorporate any naming ceremony symbolism or rituals.

These symbolic gestures (or rituals) can add an extra dimension to any ceremony and can make it even more personal and memorable for you and for your guests. They can involve just the child or children, the immediate family or other ‘VIPs’.

Some people aren’t sure about having a symbolic gesture and just want a very simple ceremony – and that’s okay, it’s your ceremony after all. But it may be that you’re just not sure about the possibilities. 

Some of the better known and most popular symbolic gestures included a naming ceremony are the sand ceremony, hand foot or finger printing, family handfasting and the memory box. 

It’s part of your celebrant’s role to explain them and give you ideas. They love to get their creative juices flowing. You can of course be creative and come up with your own symbolic gestures. The beauty of a humanist ceremony is being able to make it your own.  

Regardless, don’t feel you have to include any. Just think about whether any of them resonate with you or have meaning for you. Your ceremony will be unique and meaningful regardless.

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