When Is Godparents Day?
The role of godparents is meant to be a very significant one. Parents designate certain people to help watch over and guide their children. This role is sometimes passed along to other family members but can also be given to a friend, co-worker, neighbor, etc.
Being a godparent is such an honor that there is even a special annual day to honor those in that position. Here, we’ll look at what a godparent is and when Godparents Day is celebrated. Keep reading to see how this day can be celebrated with the special godparent in your life!
What Does It Mean to Be a Godparent?
We often hear of babies and young children having godparents who are present throughout their lives. However, what does this title truly mean? The expected responsibilities of godparents actually vary from culture to culture and from family to family. While there is no legal commitment (unless put in documentation by parents or guardians), there is meant to be an emotional and spiritual connection between godparents and their godchildren.
Early on in a child’s life, godparents are chosen by the child’s parents. These godparents, typically a godmother and godfather, promise to serve as spiritual guides and good role models for the child. They provide extra support and care by regularly spending time with their godchild, attending the child’s special events like birthdays and graduations, and being a strong presence in their lives. Of course, godparents may also buy gifts and other necessities or provide some monetary support for the child. Many families also expect the godparents to step up in the child’s life if one or both of the parents gets sick or dies unexpectedly.
In choosing godparents, the child’s parents may honor long friendships or close relationships within their family. That is perfectly fine and understandable. However, parents should keep in mind that the godparents they choose should be responsible and committed to the big tasks that come with this role. It’s more than just a title you give to someone because you’ve known them a long time.
The Idea of Godparents Hailed From the Christian Faith
In religious cultures, being a godparent is even more significant. In today’s churches, this person (or people) is deemed essential to a child’s spiritual growth. The role of godparents actually originated in Christianity. However, it was much different than it is now. When Christianity was still new in the early Roman Empire, this role was called “sponsor.” The term stemmed from the Latin word spondere, which means “to promise.”
The sponsor back then served as a mentor of sorts to adults, not children, who were being baptized and joining the Christian church. This is still the official term used in the Catholic denomination and other churches. While other churches have fewer restrictions on who can serve as godparents, in the Catholic church, there are stricter requirements, including the fact that godparents must be Catholic. As the years went by, infant baptism and christenings became more of a trend, with godparents or sponsors being established at a young age.
When Is Godparents Day and How Is It Celebrated?
In the United States, Godparents Day, sometimes called Godparents’ Sunday, takes place on the first Sunday in June every year. Godparents are celebrated by their godchildren and families for all that they do. This holiday is also celebrated worldwide, though on different days. For example, the Church of England celebrates on the first Sunday in July instead of June.
In particular, Catholic churches often hold a special service on Godparents Day. The service includes a special prayer over the godparents as they continue to serve as role models for their godchildren. That day, godchildren may also present special gifts to their godparents. Families may go out to eat to celebrate or have a nice dinner at home. The day is simply to show honor and love to godparents for their role in the lives of their godchildren, whether it’s been years or a mere few days.
Other organizations often give the public a chance to sponsor a child across the globe. This is somewhat like the role of a godparent. An example of this is NPH USA. NPH stands for Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, which means “our little brothers and sisters” in Spanish. The organization helps vulnerable children in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. In sponsoring a child through this program, participants typically pay at least $50 a month to go towards shelter, clothes, food, and other items for this child. Sponsors can chat with them through email and even go to visit them! In May, the organization typically celebrates this cherished holiday with a fun day filled with games and activities (and plenty of food!) that honors sponsors.
Special Ways to Celebrate the Godparents in Your Life
On Godparents Day, it’s a tradition for the godchild to give a gift to their godparents. Sometimes, it’s more of a sentimental gift, like a card or craft, or even sharing a special prayer. Other gifts, especially as the child gets older, could be jewelry or personalized gifts like T-shirts, mugs, photo frames, and blankets. A special gift may just be a phone call, especially if the godparent and godchild haven’t seen each other in a while. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, just special.
In addition to a family meal, a godchild may just spend some special time with their godparent on that day. It could be going out to lunch and a movie. They may choose to go to a sports game, museum, or some other special place that both the godchild and godparent will enjoy. The two spending quality time together regularly is key, but hanging out on Godparents Day would mean a lot to both the godparent and the child.
Another way to honor godparents is for parents to share photos of the christening day or baptism. Everyone can reminisce and share memories of that day with the godchild. Alongside the godchild, parents can even make a special scrapbook with photos from that day and other memories with the godparents. That can be a treasured gift that a godparent will keep forever.