Monday, March 16, 2009


I have two children, Mila and Aman. Mila is 3-1/2 years old and Aman is 5 months old. I haven't had an unhappy day since their births, and in them, I have created my masterpieces. My husband Yonas is from Ethiopia and I am an American of mixed ethnicities, primarily French and Mexican. This past Sunday we christened Aman in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Mila was also christened at a young age in the same faith. Neither Yonas nor I are regular attendees at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and I would say that my faith leans more toward Buddhism, but we wanted the children to go through this significant Ethiopian ritual to connect with their Ethiopian heritage, as well as to leave future options open for following the faith of their choice.

I have continued to say since his unexpected birth at home, Aman was aptly named "Peace." He was a peaceful angel throughout this lengthy ceremony. It proceeded as follows:
  • At 6am we arrived at the church.
  • At approximately 6:30am the ceremony begins. Four priests enter the room, dressed in their Holy robes. They bring incense and intricate crosses and they begin to pray in a mesmerizing chant as the room fills with the fragrant smoke of the incense. The prayers are primarily delivered in Ge'ez, an ancient Ethiopian Holy language, so I am not the only one who does not understand.
  • After the initial prayers conclude, all of the mothers who are offering their children up for the Holy ceremony, unwrap their children and deliver them into the hands of the priest who circles the children around the tub of Holy water, dips them into the tub, and anoints them with the Holy water. Aman is a beautiful little cherub, dancing through the air, patiently receiving our offering for him.
  • His new godfather, Soloman, then receives him with his pure while Christening blanket and dresses him in his white Christening clothes.
  • We then take him down to the main church for services and to receive his first Holy Communion at 8:30am.
  • The prayers are, again, sung in this beautiful chant in Ge'ez, and Aman is lulled to sleep in my arms as we await his first communion.
  • Soloman brings him to receive his first communion, the priests lay hands upon him in prayer, and by about 10:30 the ceremony has finished.
We later celebrated this occasion with a customarily small group of friends and family, and my little Mani remained peaceful, spending most of his time in the arms of his new godfather and godmother, Soloman and Eyeru.

Thank you to all who were a part of this special, amazing day in our family.

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