Jewish families love to celebrate babies, particularly baby boys! A Bris is the celebration of a new baby boy in the household. At a Bris we throw a part to show off the baby officially to our friends and family. The event is held in the home on the 8th day of the baby boy’s life [unless there's a need to delay for medical reasons. ] We put on a big spread of food and encourage everyone to feast! We invite a special Rabbi known as a Moyel to come to the home, bless the baby and remove his foreskin. We also officially name the baby on this day, both his legal family name and also his recognized Jewish name [which is often handed down from a deceased family member.]
If you have a girl, a less formal [but equally important] ‘baby naming ceremony’ brings family and friends together at your home. It should happen in the first few months of a baby girl’s life but isn’t locked to a day the way a Bris is. It’s expected at a Baby Naming Ceremony that the grandparents ‘present’ the baby girl and say a few words in liu of the ‘boy snipping’ portion of the party.
There are also traditions when choosing the baby’s name. We tend to honour family names of deceased relatives [It's superstitious to name your baby after a living relative] and if you don’t like the family names then it’s tradition to select the first letter of a close family member’s name [living person okay] as a nod toward tradition. For example, I named my son Jack which honoured both traditions; it was his great-grandfather’s name [deceased] and J is the first initial of my husband’s name. It’s equally exceptible to name your baby with a traditional Jewish name if you’re stumped by the options mentioned.
For a step-by-step guide on how to plan a bris, click here.