Friday, June 8, 2012

Greek Baptism

I mentioned in a previous article that the baptizing in Greece is an adventure.
Let’s start with the beginning…You know that simple thing you do: talk to a priest one day, get the baby without its consent the next, immerse it in water and Puf! the baby is baptized? Well…forget about it in Greece.

First of all, in Greece children are baptized as old as 7-8 even 9 months and up until that age most parents call their baby, “baby” because, since it is not baptized, tradition states that they are not allowed to use any names.

From the moment the baby is born up until the baptizing, “The battle for the name” takes place. I have talked about it in a previous post. The closer the baptizing gets the more biting the battle becomes. Until the end when, traditionally, “There can be only one!”. Now day’s people start giving their kids two names also but traditionally it’s only one. It would be better if the name was a Christian one (apart from being the name from one of the grandparents) because otherwise the priest might not be very happy your choice.

One important element in the baptizing ceremony is the god parent. Tradition says that the best man at a wedding will be the godfather of the couple’s first child. I have no idea how it goes for the second or the third kid. I guess you just get to choose the god parents.
Before the ceremony, the god parent needs to prove his belonging to the Christian faith, at least on paper. He needs to obtain an official document stating the fact that he was baptized as Christian.

As a social event, the baptizing here in Greece is the equivalent of a wedding. Even the baby’s dress (costume if it’s a boy) costs at the level of a miniature wedding outfit. I’ve seen baptizing dresses for girls for 250-300E and they were not the most expensive.

From the religious point of view it’s a very good business. The god parent needs to pay the church  while the parent needs to pay the priest. That also might rise to 130-150E. And to think we are talking about a country in crisis.
Overall it seems that faith has become very expensive “habit” these days.

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