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03 November 2009 @ 12:04 pm
Naming ceremony/ Baptism  
I was interested to know if anyone has come across sources in regards to naming/ baptismal ceremonies or the like? So far everything I have come across has been from the Christianized perspective, but considering the importance of affixing a name to individuals, I assume there would have been a similar ceremony or ritual native to the Gaels?
 
 
 
Kathryn of Nigheanan nan Cailleach: Taigh na h-Aibhnecaitriona_nnc on November 3rd, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Naoi Tonnan...
The "baptism" prayers in the Carmina are only thinly Christianised, when at all. There's tons of material there. We had a recent discussion on here about some of this material.
.felmac3 on November 3rd, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
As with most things regarding pre-Christian rituals we must work with and through the vessel by which remants of them survived, that is Christian folk custom.

Both the Carmina Gadelica and Henderson's Survivals in Belief Amongst the Celts contain useful information in regard to baptisms/naming ceremonies in the Scottish Highlands.

If you look through the community's archive and find my "Milk and Lustration" thread, I mention that during the Synod of Cashel (1171) lay baptisms involving babies immersed in water or milk three times were outlawed for reasons unknown, but probably because they were seen as "too pagan."
Gorm_Sionnachgorm_sionnach on November 3rd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, much obliged. I have a copy of survivals among the Celts, but haven't got around to it yet. I recall the lustration topic, I miss the good stuff when I don't read...
Serenheilun_coo on November 3rd, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
In Scotland there was a lot of ritual and lore associated with the birth and baptism of the baby. A lot of it arose (or survived from pre-Christian traditions) because in many parts of the Highlands and Islands the local priest would only visit the area occasionally so people had their own rites to 'make do' until the child and mother had been baptised and kirked.

Without these precautionary measures they were both considered to be at risk of being taken by the Good Folk - the mother to act as a nursemaid, or the baby to be taken and replaced by a changeling who would fail to thrive with its human parents. From the time of birth to the time of baptism they had to be safely guarded against.

There were rites of blessing and protection performed by the midwife soon after birth, and the family (or even the whole community) would get together to drink and eat to the child's future health and success. The form of these varied from place to place, but cheese or butter was often involved in a protective capacity, and lots of whisky was drunk in the child's name with a toast made by each person present. In some parts a special bannock was also shared out amongst the company.

Walter Gregor has some good stuff. So does Alexander Carmichael, and Margaret Bennett's Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave.

If you look at The Birth of Cormac, it also describes a protective rite - this time performed by the druid.