May 16, 2015

A christening in the Finnish Seaman's Church

A little over a year ago, one of my best friends gave birth to the first baby in my girls circle and today was his christening. His grandmother and with that, his mothers side is Finnish. Therefore it was a given that he was christened in the Finnish Seaman's Church here in Hamburg. Each Christmas the Scandinavian churches hold a Christmas market only for a few days and during this festive time the churches are always packed. The Finnish Seaman's Church main tasks is to offer services to seamen or travelling Finns, as well as provide an opportunity for Finns to get together. Not only does the church offer religious services, but also provides social and cultural guidance for Finns living in and around Hamburg.

For me, it is the only church I know of, that has saunas in the basements. And a parrot!

With the service held in Finnish and German, there was no problem for all guests to follow the ceremony. Finnish is a funny language, no? It certainly looks very difficult.
The baptismal water came from a crystal bowl that is a heirloom in the mothers family. Her Finnish relatives, who travelled from Finnland for this occasion, brought this with them. The metal ring, that graces the crystal, is engraved with the names and the christening date of all the children of the family. How is this for a family tradition?

On tables decorated with baby's breath (how fitting!) I ate way too much strawberry cake. The godparents tasks is it to be an intergral part of his spiritual upbringing. I would assume, you can translate the tasks to you stay very well connected in some manner with the child. I was christened myself as a baby, but even though I haven't been an active member of any religious group or church in a very long time, it was very touching to see that little boy being included into the church. Not only is it a great family gathering and perhaps you feel, it is "something you do" when you have a child, but it feels like a public and solemn promise. A promise that he is protected and guided it some way. Either by a higher power or by the guests of his christening. And isn't that a great thought to grow up with?
ntegral part of the child’s spiritual upbringing