Baptism vs Christening – What's the Difference?

Baptism vs Christening – What’s the Difference?

Are you confused if baptism and christening are the same things? We know it can be a little confusing; therefore, here we have for you a guide on christening vs baptism to clear all your doubts. Most people use the terms, christening and baptism interchangeably. Since they refer to a similar kind of ceremony or sacrament, there is a slight difference between the two terms. This article will help you understand the same. Read on to find out more about the difference and importance of christening and baptism.

Difference Between a Christening and Baptism

Eager to know what is the difference between baptism and christening? The primary difference is that the former is a religious sacrament and the latter a religious ceremony.

What Is the Meaning of Baptism and Christening?


A Christian religious sacrament is a form of initiation. It consists of embracing the faith and is performed by the clergy. Done by immersing, pouring, or sprinkling water on the person getting baptized, that is a symbol of the sins of the believer to be washed away, the method differs according to the Church. A member of the clergy states the baptism as complete in the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost’s name. The person being baptized need not be a Christian.


A religious ceremony where a child is given a name before Christ and baptized. It is an official term for naming ceremonies. Mainly performed on young children, some parents postpone the baptizing part until they are old enough to understand the difference.

When This Occasion Takes Place?


Baptism is a ceremony performed when someone, even a non-Christian, is initiated into the Christian faith. Marked by the ritual of using water to signify the washing away of one’s sins before becoming Christian, the process admits the recipient into the Christian community.


Christening takes place when a child is named and is also baptized at the same time. Christening is a naming ritual that dates back to English culture. Not properly defined, it is referred to as baptism. In reality, a child is christened and given an official name. They need not be baptized then.

For Whom It Is Performed?


Performed on all those who are born into the Christian faith and to those who wish to be baptized, the ritual differs according to different churches. Baptism is also performed on non-Christians who wish to adopt the religion and live their lives as Christians.


Generally performed on infants and children born into the Christian faith, it could also be performed on an adult who wishes to change their name to a Biblical name of Christian origin.

Need and Importance


Baptism implies a sacrament to initiate a person into a new rite. It can be performed on adults and infants. Often called initiation, the ceremony needs to be performed mandatorily if someone wishes to follow the Christian faith. Baptism is important as John baptized Jesus, and after his resurrection, he told his disciples that they must be baptized too.


During the christening, a child is given a name and baptized. Christening can consist of only giving a name without introducing them to the Church as members. While it is not mandatory for someone to be baptized, they may need to be christened to be officiated the name.

For Christian families, christening or baptism is a significant part of childhood. It believes that a child’s original sin is erased, and he or she becomes a pledged child of God.

Other Points Related to Baptism and Christening

  • Baptism is considered a traditional sacrament, while christening is not.
  • Christening is considered to be a religious rite by churches that are Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal. Baptism is considered a commitment to God in Christian churches when someone is of an age to know the difference between right and wrong and make the decision to be baptized.
  • Christening involves a naming ceremony followed by baptizing, but baptism does not involve a naming ceremony.
  • Baptism was practised and referred to even before Christianity, whilst; Christening was first referred to in the 14th century.
  • Some churches consider baptism as surrendering to God whilst others believe christening is an act of submission to God.
  • Baptism is a Greek word, while Christening is an English word.
  • The major difference is the way the ceremonies are conducted. Baptism involves immersion of water on an adult or child to atone for their sins and pledge their commitment to God. Christening involves the priest’s sprinkling of water, where the parents accept the baby’s commitment to God and give them a proper name.
  • Baptism is the practice by Christian following an example set in the Bible as in Matthew 3:16. The significance of Baptism is a conscious decision on the part of the person participating in dedicating themselves to Christ.
  • The term christening is most often used in Anglican traditions, whereas the term baptism is more widely used in Roman Catholicism.


1. Is It Fine to Give Christening Card for a Baptism?

No, you cannot give a christening card for a baptism, as baptism involves traditional sacraments that admit a person into the Christian community. Whereas christening is similar to a baptism, but it focuses on the kid’s naming ceremony.

2. Can Someone Be Both Christened and Baptised?

Yes, a person can be both christened and baptised, as christening is a ceremony where a child is given a name before Christ and baptised.

3. Can You Do Baptism Many Times?

A person can only be baptised only once in their lifetime.

Both words are used interchangeably but do have some similarities. Used in different cultural contexts, christening is a rite to the right of baptism and a prelude to the immersion of water.

Also Read:

Wonderful Christening and Baptism Gifts
Baptism Decoration Ideas for Your Child’s Precious Day
Beautiful Ideas to Celebrate Your Child’s First Communion

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Gauri Ratnam completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Pune. She began her journey as a German translator soon after completing her graduation, but later moved on to pursue her passion for writing. Having written for both digital and print media in a varied range of industries, she has the ability to write relatable and well-researched content, benefical for anyone seeking advice or direction.