GODPARENTS often play a big part in a child’s life or, at the very least, turn up with gifts on their birthday.
Here we look at whether at how many a kid can have and what their rights are…
How many godparents can you have?
Traditionally, Christian children have three godparents in total, though they can have as many as the parent wants.
Girls usually have two godmothers and one godfather while boys have two godfathers and one godmother but there is no hard and fast rules nowadays.
Non-practising Christians can have as many or as few as they like, though it is customary to have at least one godfather and one godmother.
Blood relatives and members of the family can be chosen to be the child’s godparent.
Who can be godparents and what do godparents do?
Having godparents is thought to date back to the second century, when baptisms became widespread.
When a child is born parents will often turn to close family members or friends and ask them to be a godparent to their child.
Traditionally, godparents were responsible for ensuring a child’s religious education and helping them develop their faith.
But in modern times, the individual is chosen by parents to take a general interest in the kid’s wellbeing and development, not necessarily with a religious aspect.
This is not a legal appointment and, should anything happen to the parents, godparents would not automatically become responsible for that child.
While traditionally there was a religious aspect to being a godparent there is not set rule about whether or not the godparents have been christened or not.
This though also depends on the church the baby is being christened into.
Some strict churches may ask that all the godparents have been christened in order to fulfil their role, or others may be happy to perform the service if only one person has. Some may not even bother.
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How are godparents involved in a christening?
Godparents play an important role in christenings, according to Church of England Christenings.
“In the christening service, you will make some big promises to support your godchild throughout their life,” the website states.
They often bring the infant to the font to be baptised and in countries such as Latvia, it is the godparents who also choose a name for the child.
Christening gifts are traditionally silver, such as a silver spoon or rattle but here, too, this tradition is fading and all kinds of presents can be given.
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