Monday, September 24, 2007

a baptism of a different sort

On Saturday, we gathered with the family and celebrated the baptism of my niece, C, who just turned one year old. This baptism didn't take place in a church; in fact, it didn't involve religion at all. What we witnessed was a civil baptism, which is possibly unique in France.

Created during Napoleon's reign, civil baptisms are rather rare today, and not every town hall in France offers it, but it's an option for families of mixed or non-Christian background or those that aren't particularly religious. The ceremony takes place in the town hall, is presided over by the mayor, and the parents choose a godfather and godmother who act just like a Christian godparent, except that instead of teaching about religion, they teach how to be a good citizen.

The ceremony takes all of ten minutes, which for us was extended to at least fifteen because we had a professional musician in - another niece, C, who plays the violin beautifully. Afterwards, we all headed to a rented hall, where we ate a simple buffet, drank lots of lovely wine, and even got a little silly with a karaoke machine.

Of course, I forgot my camera, but that's probably because I was preoccupied with remembering our gift:

C's sweater

Yet another knitted gift. This one is a baby shrug from Debbie Bliss Simply Baby. I think they liked it, but it's probably still a little too big, as I made it in the biggest size.

Anyway, it was a great excuse for a party and hang out with the family, and we had a great time, and it was well after midnight by the time we made it home.

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