For members of the Christian faith, baptism is one of the most significant events in a person's spiritual life. Greek Orthodox Christians are no exception; whether the sacrament is given to an infant or an adult, baptism signifies entry into the church and the body's rebirth -- a way of being spiritually born again into eternal life with Jesus Christ. Greek Orthodox baptism ceremonies are intricately detailed, deeply spiritual, and typically attended by family and close friends. Traditionally, family an friends give gifts to the parents of the newborn being baptised or to the adult who has been baptised.
Any significant life event is one that people will want to remember, and a gift that will help them do so is a thoughtful token. Baptismal pins and martyrika, or witness pins, are traditional Greek baptismal gifts. Photo frames engraved with the name of the baptised and the date of the sacrament are appropriate gifts, and keepsake boxes in which to store mementos of the day are popular items as well. Prayer books and crosses bearing the name and date are good choices.
The infant or adult being baptised needs several items for the baptismal ceremony. The person being baptised wears a cross on a chain around his neck, and once the ceremony is complete, he wears a new white outfit to symbolise purity. Lathopana, or towel and clothing sets, are common gifts for Greek Orthodox infants being baptised. In addition, it is traditional for a newly baptised Greek Orthodox Christian to receive a decorated white candle. Monetary gifts are often given as well.
After most baptism ceremonies, the newly baptised adult or parents of the christened infant will have a small party or reception. Contributing some food to the event is a thoughtful gift. In the case of a Greek Orthodox baptism, one traditional party favour is called bouboniera and is made up of beautifully wrapped bundles of Jordan almonds. For something a little more substantial, an appetizer platter with a traditional Greek dip such as tzatziki is one idea.
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