Archive for the ‘Celebrations and Rites’ Category

Celebration for Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo

December 12, 2019

We were invited to perform a “Welcome to the World” ceremony for grandchildren of a Mexican friend of ours, Cristina. She is not the usual Mexican abuela (grandma); we first met her in India, in Tiruvannamalai, where we lived for a number of years. She was there visiting the ashram of Ramana Maharishi. We were getting ready to move to Mexico, and it turned out that she lived near to our destination. We became good friends and she and her family helped us enormously with our move to Mexico.

Mexico is predominately a Catholic country, and for young children, they would perform a Baptism. Cristina wanted us to do something like this for her youngest granddaughter, Ariah, who was turning one. She told me that family and friends would be there, and she wanted to do something for the family to welcome Ariah to the world. I felt honored, but had no idea what to do. I had performed an alternative to a Christening for my daughter Megan, when she was one year old. We called it a “Personing” rather then a Christening. It was nice. I said “Yes” to Cristina without much idea of what to do.

Then Cristina asked if another granddaughter, Mayah, could be added. I said “yes.” Then she said that yet another grandchild, Marcelo, was going to be there with his mom, from their home in Sweden. (I said this was not a usual Mexican family). I said “sure.” So now I had to plan something for 3 kids, and a family gathered from around the world. Oh, and Cristina’s father would be there, too, so I needed to include the fact that there are four generations here today.

So I thought about what a good rite of passage ceremony might be, and then looked on the Internet for “welcome to the world” ceremony. Then I remembered that the Unitarian-Universalists (UU), of which I am now a member, did things like this, so I searched for ” UU welcome to the world ceremony” and found something that was almost just right. It was a “Child Dedication” written by a UU minister Alex Haider-Winnett.

I did some minor rewrites. The ceremony had us make a circle to include the children, their parents, then the grandparents and great grandparents, then the Godparents, and finally other children, all called into the circle.

The group mainly spoke Spanish. so I arranged for a translator, who was Cristina’s sister Barbara, a teacher of English in Guadalajara. I figured I could wear my ceremonial “Temple Whites” from India for the occasion.

On the big day, Cristina arranged for a car to take us to their home in Guadalajara’s Primavera Forest. Gustavo, an associate of Cristina’s husband Jose Maria, drove us. On the way, we talked and I came to understand more of the movement of high-tech business into Guadalajara, along with the great impact of the University of Guadalajara. The university brought the cream of the young people to Guadalajara for their education. Guadalajara became kind of a hub for technology. It had always been a hub for business. These educated young people stayed in Guadalajara, and led the way to this city becoming a tech and business hub of Mexico.

We arrived. I saw right away that this was some special event, as most of the family was dressed in white. I was glad to have chose the “Indian Whites” to wear.

Now I will show some of the photos that Carol took. This reminded her of “the old days” in India, when we were posting to the blog every week, and taking lots of photos. We found that when you are at an event “as a photographer” that people let you get right in the middle of everything. It was like this today for Carol.

I will have the words of the actual ceremony interwoven with the photos, along with some commentary.

The photo above shows Marcelo with his mom Adriana, who currently live in Sweden, and Rachid, a family friend from Barcelona.

Above is Mayah, Ariah’s older sister, with her uncle, Steve.

Adriana is pregnant with Marcelo’s sister Julia. Richard is “offering the light” to Julia, before the ceremony.

Above, Richard is tending the “altar.” Cristina is holding her granddaughter, Mayah.

Sofia is holding daughter Ariah.

Marcelo and his prize airplane, with some of the other kids in attendance.

Marcelo with Tia (Aunt) Sofia.

Fun for Marcelo

Another baby in attendance, with Mom and friends.

Richard starts the ceremony

Child Dedication Ceremony for Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo

Richard: “Friends and family, we have been brought together by Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo for a joyous occasion: to recognize and welcome them into this world and this circle of love.

“Every day that a child is born is a miracle; an opportunity to recognize the power of love; a day to give thanks for the beauty of the earth; a day to recognize that no one is brought up alone, and that every person born is a savior to the world.

“Welcome to this circle of love as we work to dedicate ourselves and each other to the care and tending of Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo. We recognize all who have gathered here now and those who are away from us in distance and time. We honor the ancestors who have left this world but not our hearts, and we welcome them here in our minds.”

Jose Maria and Cristina.

Reciting “Our Children” by Kahlil Gibran

“We begin with a poem from the Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran, translated into Spanish as Tus Hijos. It will be recited by Cristina.”

Tus hijos no son tus hijos,
son hijos e hijas de la vida
deseosa de sí misma.

No vienen de ti, sino a través de ti,
y aunque estén contigo,
no te pertenecen.

Puedes darles tu amor,
pero no tus pensamientos, pues,
ellos tienen sus propios pensamientos.

Puedes albergar sus cuerpos,
pero no sus almas, porque ellas
viven en la casa de mañana,
que no puedes visitar,
ni siquiera en sueños.

Puedes esforzarte en ser como ellos,
pero no procures hacerlos  semejantes a ti
porque la vida no retrocede
ni se detiene en el ayer.

Tú eres el arco del cual tus hijos,
como flechas vivas son lanzados.

Deja que la inclinación,
en tu mano de arquero
sea para la felicidad
Pues aunque Él ama
la flecha que vuela,
Ama de igual modo al arco estable.

Precious Ariah listening intently

The poem in English:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

One of Cristina and Jose Maria’s three dogs. He looks like he is listening, too.

Parents present the children

Sofia and Juan Carlos holding their daughters Ariah and Mayah. Cristina’s sister, Barbara, is reading her Spanish translation of the ceremony.

Richard: Los padres, (the parents), Juan Carlos, Sofia and Adriana, who do you bring to this gathered community?

Juan Carlos, Sophia and Adriana: (Presents Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo into the circle)

Richard: “Are you ready to dedicate Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo to this world?”

Juan Carlos, Sophia and Adriana: “We are.”

Richard: “Will you promise to care for Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo?
Love them with all your heart and soul?
Will you raise them to love justice and live with compassion?
Will you extend to these children kindness and courage?
And will you encourage them to live their dreams?”

Juan Carlos, Sophia and Adriana: “We will.”

Ancianos’ pledge to the children (grandparents and great-grandfather)

Richard: Los Ancianos, (The Elders) Rocio, Cristina, Jose Maria, and Armando vengan, (please come forward).

“With Armando in the circle we have four generations, from the children to their Great-Grandfather.

“Will you promise to care for Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo?
Love them with all your heart and soul?
Will you raise them to love justice and live with compassion?
Will you extend to these children kindness and courage?
And will you encourage them to live their dreams?”

Grandparents/Elders: “We will.”

Cristina, Cristina’s father Armando, and Jose Maria, with Barbara translating.

Padrinos (Godparents) pledge to the children

Richard: (Welcomes godparents into the circle: Adriana, Rachid, Cristina and Jose Maria, and Sophia):

Richard: “Los Padrinos; Adriana and Rachid, Cristina and Jose Maria, and Sophia, vengan.”

Richard: “Will you promise to care for Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo?
Love them with all your heart and soul?
Will you raise them to love justice and live with compassion?
Will you extend to these children kindness and courage?
And will you encourage them to live their dreams?”

Godparents: “We will.”

Other children pledge

Richard: (Welcomes children into the circle)

Richard: “Niños, vengan.” (Children, please come forward.)

“Will you promise to love Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo?
To play with them?
Will you grow up with them and be a friend?
To teach them all the wonders of life?”

Children: “Yes!”

Community pledges

Richard: (Addresses any remaining people)

“Will you promise to care for Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo?
Will you help raise them to love justice and live with compassion?
Will you extend to these children kindness and courage?
And will you encourage them to live their dreams?”

Community: “We will.”


Juan Carlos and Sofia honoring Adriana and Julia

Blessing the children

Richard: “Let us bless Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo with the wonders of the earth.”

“Tías y tíos (aunts and uncles) (Gaby and Steve, Bárbara, Alex), vengan. Sit here and hold Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo in your laps. By doing this you show the support of their whole family.”

(Anoint with water) “Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, this is water.
May you always find your thirst quenched.
May you know the joy of hard work.
May your tears be cared for.
May you dance in rain and jump in pools and puddles.
Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, you are water.”

(Gently blow on faces) “Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, this is air.
May your lungs be full of fresh, sweet air.
May you know the joy of a good laugh.
May you find your voice through song, whispers and shrieks.
May you have a life full of scents, breezes and sighs.
Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, you are air.”

(Show a lighted candle) “Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, this is fire.
May it remind you of the infinite consciousness which is the light that illuminates everything.
May it inspire your commitment for love and justice.
May you be kept warm by the community around you.
May all your days be bright.
Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, you are fire.”

(Tickle with a thornless rose) “Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, this is a flower made from the earth.
May you know beauty.
May you know that the earth provides all you need.”
(Tickle feet) “May everywhere you go be blessed by your presence.”
(Tickle hands) “May all your work be a blessing to the world.
(Tickle chest and face)
“May all you do bring joy to the world.”
(Hand parents the rose) “Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, you are the earth.”

Gustavo on the left. Barbara translating. Mayah, Ariah, and Marcelo held by Adriana, Steve, and Rachid.

Presentation of Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo

Richard: “Friends, it is with great joy that I present to you these gifts to this world, a blessing to all of us, and a joy to all who may meet Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo.

“Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo, stand before your family and friends, so they can greet you”

(All) “Welcome Ariah, Mayah and Marcelo. Welcome into the world.”

More friends and family in attendance.

Gifts for the children

Rachid presents Ariah with a bracelet.

Sofia presents Marcelo with a bracelet.

Pose for a few more photos

Jose Maria with Mayah

Juan Carlos, Jose Maria, and Richard

Juan Carlos and Sofia, Cristina with Adriana and Julia, Fabi is taking pictures

Then afterwards, everybody eats

And the children play

Afterward I heard from Cristina that the family did not know what to expect, but that everyone was very happy with the ceremony for the children. We are so blessed to live our lives with so many extraordinary people from all over the world.

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