Soon after a child is born into a Christian Catholic family, he or she is welcomed in the religious community. The ceremony to mark this entrance is called christening or baptism. A robe worn during the christening is called christening robe. As per the religious rules and regulations, christening robes ought to be white in colour. These days, however, christening robes for young girls are found in pink and those for boys are available in light blue too. |
During the early Roman Empire, citizens who were baptized were often naked. Also, the ceremony took place in a river or a stream. With passing time and changing attitudes, this tradition was abandoned and christening robes were introduced. According to the Eastern Orthodox Religious organization, the rule is that the baptism robe must be kept for a time period of eight days and nights. After this a party honouring the one who was recently baptized is held. The Catholic Church rules hold that most followers have to be baptised as infants. Nevertheless, there are separate robes and rites for the adult. When it comes to adults, there are specific garments to be put on for baptism. For baptism, they have to immerse their entire body in water and thereby get wet. Christening robes are usually lengthy, white in colour and worn by both males and females. They do not have any ornamentation and look more like a choir gown. Different churches follow different regulations. As per a Mormon Church, men who are to be baptised must put on white jumpsuits while women need to wear minimal white dresses. Again, some Protestant churches do the ceremony of baptism only on infants. Still others go through the process of baptism once they are adults. Now there are a variety of christening robes available in the market from which one can choose from. There are double layered christening robes meant for men and for women there are culottes dresses. This does away with the need for another layer of clothes beneath the robe.
So far as infants are concerned, christening robes for them were not thought of before the Victorian age. Before that, babies just wore their best attire. Expectant mothers during the nineteenth century would hand stitch a dress for their baby, especially for this occasion. The outfit would be complete with a cap or a bonnet and a shawl, all stitched and knitted by the mother. These dresses were worn by both boys and girls and it was not uncommon to see siblings wearing the same kind of outfit. The outfit then began to carry a lot of sentimental value and turned to an heirloom, handed down from one generation to another.
Since a very few women these days have the time and willingness to make a christening robe (interesting to know is that the Danish term is dåbskjole) on their own, most of them get it from a store. Online stores also keep christening robes. There are some hand stitched ones among these too. The kind of detailed work on the robe and also the quality of the fabric determine the price. Usually, christening robes are made from polyester cotton on the highest quality of imported silk dupioni. Prices start from $50 and there is no such upper limit to it. If you have plans to give them to the next generation of your family, store them well in boxes specially made for keeping christening robes. For more information and inspiration visit Oli Prik on Facebook .
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