In 2016, the Vatican reported that 17.8% of the global population had been baptized in the Catholic Church.
Baptism isn’t reserved for Catholics, alone, however, and it’s difficult to predict just how many baptisms occur each year.
One question people often have, as they approach the decision to baptize their child, is what is a christening and how does it differ from baptism?
Read on to find out the answer!
What is Baptism?
The word “baptism” comes from a Greek word that means to “immerse” or “dip in water.” Baptism, then, is the act of immersing a person, typically a baby, in cleansing water. A priest or pastor must perform this sacrament and it is usually accompanied by a full religious ceremony.
Baptism is meant to cleanse the baptized of their original sin. It is the first in many sacraments that bring us closer to God and allow God to work through us.
What is a Christening?
The definition of a christening varies. Some people use it interchangeably with baptism while others note that there is, in fact, a distinction between the two.
What remains the same in most definitions is the idea of a religious ceremony. Parents often invite friends and family to attend the christening of their child and some of the most important guests are the two people who will become the child’s godparents.
You may also give the child a new, Christian name (or declare the name they have officially in the eyes of the church). This tradition can be found in the Bible, where many people changed their names after becoming followers of God and of Jesus. Christian names are sourced from the Bible to serve as a reminder to the child that they are to live their lives in the image of God.
During a christening, the family and caregivers of the child come together to pray over the child. It is both the start of the child’s path towards God and a commitment on behalf of the child’s many caregivers to aid them on that path.
How Are They Different?
In some religions, you might say that the difference between a baptism and a christening is the difference between a single act and a full ceremony. In other words, the christening is the ceremony as a whole while the baptism is the moment in which the child has their original sins cleansed from their soul.
However, some religions keep these two moments entirely separate. A christening will almost always occur when the child is a baby. Baptism, however, is reserved for older children who have a stronger personal understanding of what the sacrament means for them.
In either case, an audience of loved ones is to be expected. If you’re preparing for a baptism or a christening, you can make free christening invitations to announce the date and location of this sacred event.
Enjoy These Important Milestones
When answering the question, “What is a christening?” you have to take into account your personal religious beliefs. In some instances, a christening may be another name for baptism. In others, there is a significant difference between a christening vs. baptism.
No matter your definition, enjoy this important milestone!
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