Posted by: annmucc | October 11, 2010

A Danish Baptism

For less than 24hrs this past weekend we have been in Denmark, celebrating the birth of a little girl. Earlier this year Michael’s sister had a little baby girl: Mai. We had already seen her when we were visiting in August, but when a date was set for her baptism, we quickly made plans to be in Denmark for that day. Michael also had the honour of being a god parent, as he was for his nephew a few years back, so the trip was definitely worth it (though the short time was maybe not ideal).

Sunday morning we made our way to the church at the bottom of his parents’ house’s road, where the baptism was to take place. Of course, this was my first Danish (or Protestant, for that matter) baptism so I was looking forward to see what it is all about.

The service started with the priest entering the church, with the happy (immediate) family in tow, while we sung the first hymn. Further hymns were sung and prayers were said, until the time for the actual baptism rite to be performed.

The baptism was performed at a font at the bottom of the ‘altar area’, where the happy couple, Magnus (Mai’s brother), and the god parents were standing. Magnus was first invited to pour water from a jug into the baptism ‘dish’, before the priest said some words and asked some questions. I was surprised that it seemed to me that only the woman answered the questions, while the man did not say much if anything. Also, the godparents just stood there and did not agree to any sort of role they should play – or so it seemed to me. I of course could not understand what was being said, but I am saying this on the basis of not seeing them do anything, except smile. Also, there was no ‘lighting of candles’, which is part of the Catholic rite which I always consider and intrinsic part of the baptism.

Following the baptism, the service then continued as normal (I believe), after which we all returned to Michael’s parents’ house, where a small party for the twenty of us had been organized. The food (tapas for starters, meat, potatoes and salad for main, and coffee and dessert) had been half ordered from caterers and half made by family and friends, while the neighbors chipped in as ‘kitchen staff’.

It was very much a cozy experience just for the immediate family. Besides food, gifts were opened, songs were sung (typical Danish tradition for any event it seems) a walk in the neighborhood was made, and photos were taken. I got to push Mai’s pram during the walk, and inspite of my utter lack of coordination she didn’t cry. I (and Michael!) also got to hold her for the first time when we returned, and luckily I didn’t make her cry (just!). Our gifts of a musical box heart, and a rattle definitely came in handy in distracting her from crying!

Soon, too soon, the party came to an end. We were being driven to the airport by some guests from the other side of the family who live close by. I am now sitting at the airport, waiting for time to pass for our flight time to arrive. Glad we made the effort for the baptism, though maybe haven planned the trip a bit better (and longer) might have been slightly less damaging to our sleep levels…and environment!

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