Last month we had a pretty big event in our family, as our regular readers know: Baby Romanian’s christening party. I am not sure how this happens in other countries, but in Romania, the christening event can be compared with a wedding: there can be hundreds of guests, there’s a huge party involved that usually lasts all night and, in the end, a lot of money is spent by the parents to make this event as close to perfection as possible. (And a lot of alcohol is consumed, but that’s the fun part!)
We went through that last month and even though it was, for me, a lot less stressful than the wedding, there were still a lot of things to do: preparing the accommodation for our guests from other cities as they all need rooms to sleep in, arranging everything with the Church and making sure that we have everything we need there (as there are a lot of traditional things that have to be brought by the parents themselves) and finally arranging with the restaurant for the food, the music and preparing other traditional events during the party.
Since an image is better than 1,000 words, I am here to share a few with you pointing the most important stages during a Romanian Christening party – from our party, yay:
For most of the ceremony, the Godfathers hold the baby:
In the church, all the things on the table you can see below are used during the christening: there’s a bottle of chrism – a bit of which goes on the baby’s head, there is some holy oil that they put in the water used for the Christening, the small scissors is used to cut a bit of hair and the golden crosses and Bible are there to be kissed by the Godfathers at different moments during the ceremony. You can also notice in the background (will be a better image below) the special candle – it has to be held by the Godfather and generally it is decorated specifically for moment – we went for a cutesy little flower teddy that we liked so much! After the priests read from the book, the baby is placed into the holy water and the Christening is complete.
After the “bath” the baby is changed into a new set of clothes (the tradition has it that these have to be bought by the Godfathers, but we bought them ourselves) and he’s allowed to play with anything, as long as he remains happy:
After the Christening ceremony is over, everybody heads to the restaurant for the party. You have themed decorations and basically everything you’d get from a wedding. We even got some cutesy personalized paper napkins:
Just as it happens with the weddings, the party is started by the first dance where the parents and the baby have the scene. However, since you can’t really do much choreography with an infant (there are people who Christianize their babies at 2 months) , the three will only dance alone for several seconds before being joined by the others and the party officially begins.
Later on, usually at midnight (but we opted for a day party, so they came at 7 PM, ha!) there is a special moment when fairies visit the baby to wish him well for a great destiny. In Romanian, these fairies are called “Ursitoare” and the word basically means “the girls who decide the fate”.
And after three or four courses, plus cake, plus a lot of alcohol, the day is over. Not before you party like the rock star you are!
We went for a more modern approach to the whole thing and got a DJ for the music, but it’s still very common to bring a traditional Romanian band or singer who will perform traditional Romanian music (duuuh!) while the guests dance the “hora” – a traditional dance with complicated steps and many variations, something that I never managed to master.
So, in the end, the Christening of a baby is an extremely important event in Romania and the second biggest party (after the wedding). The costs for everything are similar to those for a wedding, but the tradition is for the guests to offer money to the baby/parents. It was extremely “profitable” back in the day, with people buying household items with the money made after the event (anything from a new car to kitchen appliances and vacations). Today, though, the money only covers the expenses for everything.
Oh, and yes – we did have a great time!