is a Naamakarana?
The Naamakarana is both a
religious and social rite of passage in Hinduism. We used it as an
opportunity for family members and close friends to share in Christian
prayer and welcome for Amir.
did you have a naming ceremony?
wanted to express our Christian faith in a way that Suneel’s Hindu
family would understand, i.e. in a way that was consistent with their
culture. Suneel comes from a Hindu Sindhi background but is very
English. So we wrote a ceremony that was Hindu and English in culture
but Christian in content.
do you mean ‘Hindu and English’ in culture?
We are using the term ‘Hindu’ to refer to the cultural background
and practices rather than religious content. As in Hindu culture (and
Asian culture generally), the ceremony was performed at home; respect
was given to the older generation, who were asked to announce the name
to those present, and then give the name to the child; people sat on
cloth on the floor, with their shoes outside the room. (The cloth was a
traditional Sindhi design.) However the service was conducted in
English, with English songs and readings. And so the culture of the
ceremony was a mix of Hindu and English, or British and Asian.
did you ensure the ceremony was Christian?
name of the ceremony, Naamakarana,
was no more Hindu than ‘Service’ or ‘Confirmation’ is
The content of the ceremony was Biblical. The
readings were from the Bible only, and the focus of our prayers was the
God of the Bible alone.
these principles be applied elsewhere?
our religious background, in Asian culture there are ceremonies for most
life events. So there is scope for creating events to which family
members would relate, but would be essentially Christian. They provide a
God-given opportunity to express our faith sensitively to our family.
Coming from a Hindu background I knew that my
family would attend a naming ceremony as it is a recognised Hindu
ceremony. They may have come to a ‘dedication’ in church, but as
they are not used to church culture we didn’t want to add unnecessary
obstacles to their understanding of Christianity.
did you produce it?
did some research into the Hindu naming ceremony, but as we do not have
the exact culture of our ancestors, we decided to create something to
which we and those relations of our generation could relate.
results: English family members preferred it to a ‘Christening’, and
the Asian family members were also positive about it, finding it
A pack is available from South Asian Concern
which includes the full text of the service and a 30 minute home video.
For more information contact South Asian Concern at email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone
020 8770 9717.
For the text of the ceremony click here