What is a Confirmation?
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the ritual practiced by most Western Christian Denominations at the young adolescent age of 12-14, wherein the Act of Confirming one’s belief and faith is undertaken, and the commitment to the Christian Church. Through the Act of Laying of Hands (invariably by a Bishop) the Acts of Jesus and the Apostles are mirrored and the Holy Spirit is thus conferred upon the participants.
When does it happen?
The Ceremony is generally undertaken on Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter Sunday) when Christians celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
It is regarded as a rite of passage for the young participants, recognizing their growing maturity and capability of mind to decide for themselves. The ceremony in the Catholic Church generally encompasses a “Sponsor” for the Child, and often a God Parent undertakes this role. This closes the circle from Baptism and Christening as the children now freely choose to 'Confirm' those earlier commitments made on their behalf.
How is it celebrated?
The Ceremony is commemorated with a Church Mass followed by a large family meal and gathering, and the giving of gifts. On many occasions the Parents have kept a variety of items from the Christening/Baptism and Holy Communion Ceremonies, and present to their Child their Prayer Book or Bible, Rosary Beads and/or Crucifix.
For the extended family and friends, gifts are more varied and many seek to commemorate the day with personal gift choices.
* Crucifix / Cross or Heart Necklaces, Bracelets or Charms.
* Picture Frames, personalised or a little more special than the usual fare are often given.
* Pearl Bracelets or Necklaces have always been a popular choice.
* Savings boxes, and Pledge Pins (alcohol abstention) have also retained their popularity (found in Catholic Church shops)
* School bags are also a practical and appropriate gift as they often mark the transition from primary to secondary levels in a school year.
* Money is also generally given but may be frowned upon by some.