How did Christening tradition begin?
The roots of Christening tradition lie in the ancient Judaic cleansing rituals.
Christening, also known as Baptism, literally means "to bring to Christ". The word "baptism" is rooted in the word "baptizein", which means "to plunge or immerse".
Some people find it surprising that there is no biblical reference to infant baptism. In fact, baby christening in Ireland began around the 5th-6th centuries.
Baptism originated in the Judaic faith. In the early days of Judaism, adult converts had to go through a purification ritual in water.
In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, the first thing Jesus does before starting his public ministry is to have John the Baptist purify him in the Jordan river.
Another basis for Christening is Jesus' instruction to his disciples after his resurrection. Prior to his ascension into Heaven, he tells them,
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..."
Still, there is no reference to infants being "purified" in the Bible. In fact, there have been numeroues scholarly essays debating the theological basis for christening tradition.
For more on the origin of Christening in the Church, read "Infant Baptism: Does the Bible Teach It?", by Dr. Gregg Strawbridge.
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The Symbolism of Christening tradition
The Symbolism of an Heirloom Christening Gown
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