A short guide to baptism traditions and parties in Romania

In Romania, there are a lot of traditions and customs related to baptism with specific duties for parents and godparents

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The baptism party is usually the baby's very first party in Romania, usually put together by the parents or the godparents. In Romania, there are a lot of traditions and customs related to baptism with specific duties for parents and godparents, some of them being religious and other being passed from one generation to another, together with a lot of superstitions. 

Orthodox Romanians baptize their children in the first months of their lives, usually after the first month. Here are some of the most important duties of the parents and godparents.  It’s also a good idea to ask about the family’s customs before the event.

Duties for godparents (in Romanian, “nași”, usually a married couple):

  • They hold the baby during the church ceremony (the godmother usually does this), they will prepare the baby for the ritual bath and then they will dress him up with new clothes;
  • They read the Creed in the church;
  • They pay the baptism fee at the church;
  • They buy: candles for the ceremony, cloth and swaddle, a pair of clothes for the ceremony and for the “chrism bath” (“baia de mir” in Romanian), earrings/chain for the baby, towel, soap, wine and oil for the church, a religious icon.

The parents are in charge of:

  • Bringing the birth certificate to the church;
  • Buying and offering baptism favors (usually small, inexpensive jewelry crosses which can be pinned to the guests’ clothes and candies for the guests after the baptism ceremony)
  • Organizing the baptism party;
  • The “Chrism bath” (“Baia de mir”) takes place the second day after the baptism; it’s an event to be attended only by parents, godparents and relatives. It is a tradition tied to pagan roots. In the baby’s bathtub, flowers, a silver coin, a gold ring, milk and honey, sanctified oil from the baptism ceremony are added into the water.
The godmother washes the baby in this bathtub and then she dresses the baby with new clothes. During the bath time in some traditions, the godmother would say a few words, like a spell: ‘’I wish you to be beautiful like the flowers, to shine like the gold, to be kind like the milk, and to run money like honey runs.’’
After the religious baptism and all its traditions, it’s party time!

Many families in Romania nowadays prefer to work with a baptism party planner from the venue of their choice, which is often the restaurant or ballroom of a hotel.

“A good baptism package should always include a consultancy meeting to decide on the size of the event and recommend a suited ballroom or restaurant, and discuss what the family needs. Besides the food and renting the ballroom, the best packages include  a deluxe room with a crib for the baby, parking places, a kids’ corner or a room with toys and playground, room setup and decoration to the family’s taste, customized table labels and ballroom plan, printed menus, guest name tags, menu tasting beforehand, the cake, video projector and screen, and special room rates for the guests,” says Iulia Tarau, specialist event planner at the InterContinental Bucharest.

Families choose between glamorous, big parties, up to 250 guests, smaller, yet “instagramable” parties of up to 90 or 120 people, or family – only gatherings, sometimes even on a terrace if the weather allows it.

“A lot of baptism parties go viral on social media these days due to the chosen venue, we’ve seen this in all our ballrooms and restaurants, including those with a top view of Bucharest, which is very popular.  And many families take the venue’s artwork value into account when choosing where to party,” adds Iulia Tarau of  InterContinental Bucharest.

At the baptism party, the children are the top priority, so the organizers or the parents are focused on activities for them. “The entertainment, balloons, candy bar, a party theme connected to a story, artistic moments for kids, it’s all about the children,” says the event planner.
The best parties are those where the family only brings the guests in, while the venue brings the fun.

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