Melat Nebiyu’s second baby christening

In Ethiopia, the Orthodox Christian christening ceremony is an essential and significant event in the life of a child. It is known as the “Baptism” or “Christening” ceremony and is typically performed when the child is still an infant. Here’s an overview of how the Orthodox Christian christening is conducted in Ethiopia:

  1. Timing: The christening ceremony is usually held shortly after the birth of the child. It is common for the ceremony to take place within the first few weeks or months of the baby’s life.
  2. Location: The baptism ceremony typically takes place in a church, where family and friends gather to witness the event.
  3. Ceremonial Clothing: The baby is dressed in a traditional white baptismal gown or robe, symbolizing purity and new life in Christ.
  4. Preparation: Before the actual baptism, the child’s godparents (known as “Kesis” or “Kesisat” in Amharic) are selected. Godparents play a significant role in the child’s spiritual upbringing and are responsible for guiding the child in their Christian faith.
  5. Baptismal Font: In Ethiopian Orthodox Christian churches, there is a special baptismal font, often shaped like a cross. The font is filled with holy water, and the priest blesses the water during the ceremony.
  6. Blessing and Anointing: During the ceremony, the priest blesses the child with the sign of the cross and anoints the child with holy oil. This anointing symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit in the child’s life.
  7. Immersive Baptism: In Ethiopian Orthodox Christian tradition, the baptism is usually performed through immersion. The baby is held by the godparents, and the priest dips the child three times into the baptismal font, representing the Holy Trinity.
  8. Name Giving: After the baptism, the child is given a Christian name, often based on the names of saints or biblical figures. This new name is considered their spiritual name.
  9. Prayers and Blessings: Throughout the ceremony, the priest recites prayers, and the congregation offers blessings and well wishes for the child and their spiritual journey.
  10. Reception and Celebration: After the baptism, there is usually a celebration with family and friends, featuring traditional Ethiopian food, music, and dancing.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity is deeply rooted in tradition and holds baptism as a crucial sacrament that initiates the child into the Christian faith. The ceremony is not only a religious event but also a social and cultural gathering that brings together the community to celebrate the new addition to the family.

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