Baptism the Italian way

Baptism in a church or private naming ceremony? Most new parents want to celebrate the arrival of their baby. Bettina and Francesco from Älvsjö baptised their children in Southern Italy.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Devout Italian baptism in church.
Photo: Private

Bettina and Francesco never doubted that a church baptism was the right way to celebrate the arrival of their children Lidia and Elisa. Partly because of the religious faith they both share and their desire, as Bettina puts it, “to write their daughters’ names in the Book of Life”. And partly to introduce and celebrate their fantastic daughters in an official context.

We wanted to pass on a beautiful tradition.

Bettina explains how they chose the place and their feelings about traditions.

“Francesco’s entire family lives in Italy and as we live in Sweden we thought it felt right to hold the baptism down there. We also wanted to pass on a beautiful tradition and create memories for our own family. The church our girls were baptised in is the same church where Francesco and I got married, where he and his brother were baptised and where his parents got married. Who knows – perhaps our girls will get married there one day and then baptise their children there?”

BABYBJÖRN Parental Magazine – Daughter’s baptism in church; the priest pours water on her head.
Bettina and Francesco live in Älvsjö. They chose to baptise both their children in their ‘family church’ in Italy.
Foto: Private

A typical Italian baptism is a devout and joyful occasion. And the most important thing for Bettina and her family was that the children were blessed and the family had a chance to celebrate and welcome the children in the company of their relatives.

How to choose a baptism gift

If you are invited to a baptism and need to choose a gift, it’s a good idea to think further ahead in time. The parents of young children often have all the clothes and toys they need.

Gift ideas for a baby

So what would be fun to have as a keepsake when the child is a bit older? Here are Bettina’s tips for one classic and one contemporary baptism gift.

“I think all jewellery is a good idea, as the child can wear it as a keepsake from their baptism. “The Book of Me” in which parents can record all kinds of childhood details also makes a great gift that the child will cherish as an adult. Or an attractive child photo album.”

4 baptism tips

The word ‘baptism’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to immerse’. The actual baptism ritual involves the priest pouring water over the child’s head, but as a parent there’s a lot you can plan and decide! Here are Bettina’s best tips for making the baptism an unforgettable occasion.

  1. Choose a church you both love or have a connection to
  2. Meet the priest beforehand to discuss what the baptism means to you
  3. Choose a beautiful song or poem to dedicate to your child – it adds a special feeling to the ceremony
  4. Have a party after the church ceremony!

About baptism and naming

Naming often has a central role in baptism rituals. But your child formally gets their name through another ritual – when you officially register your baby’s birth! In Sweden, as legal guardian you register your baby’s first name with the Swedish Tax Agency within three months of their birth.

The baby will automatically get the mother’s last name unless another last name is registered within three months of their birth.

Most religious communities and cultures hold a ceremony to mark the birth of a child. Baptism is a Christian ritual.

Humanists hold non-religious naming ceremonies. And you can always organise your own naming ceremony for your child! Source: Swedish Tax Agency, The Swedish Humanist Association.