The 18th March Project – Post 22

It’s my godmother’s birthday today, so I’m going to take another stab at explaining the concept of godparenthood to my rakhi brother.

What’s the point in godparents?

In Christianity, when a person enters the faith through the sacrament of baptism, there is at least one person responsible for the spiritual well being of the new Christian.

Usually, people born into Catholicism are baptized soon after birth. Our parents are primarily responsible for guiding us spiritually. They promise during their nuptial mass to raise their children in keeping with the tenets of the Faith.

Godparents are appointed as a fail-safe – if the parents can’t look after the child, it can become the godparent(s)’s responsibility to do so. The role is meant to be spiritual, but it can also be material and emotional, depending on the situation.

Are there any rules about who can be a godparent?

If we’re talking about the Catholic Church – yes, of course!

One of the biggies: is if s/he is not Catholic, s/he is considered a witness to your baptism, rather than a godparent.

Ideally, a godparent shouldn’t be a crappy human being, but it’s been known to happen.

There are more rules, but let’s not go into them here.

So, does the godparent have to be a relative? Who can you be a godparent to?

A godparent does not have to be related to you by blood or marriage.

In my opinion, my cohort sees becoming a godparent as a rite of passage. It’s also something some of us feel entitled to – for instance, we expect that we will be godparents to the children of our siblings or close cousins or best friends.

How many godchildren can you have?

You take on as many as you can handle. And how many you can handle really depends on how you define being a godparent.

Some godparents are involved in their godchildren’s lives, others don’t make an appearance post the baptism. This does also depend on the relationship the godparents have with the parents.

As of now, I have just one godchild. My mother’s elder brother and his wife had nearly 10 godchildren between them , I think.

Hope this Guide to Godparenting helps you understand us better, Bhai.

Happy birthday, Goms!

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The 18th March Project – Post 21

Things I noticed while travelling in Scandinavia:

  1. Traffic lights – In Sweden and Denmark, the yellow/amber light comes before both the red and the green lights. So you can anticipate when to stop, and also when to go. I didn’t see this in Lisbon (nearly 5 years ago) or Dublin, Killarney, and Galway (about a year and a half ago), so I assume it’s not an EU thing.
  2. Snow – first of all, how cool is it that we got snow?! The Danes who knew of our wish gave us kindly, sometimes patronizing, looks, as if to say “Silly girls! Snow is not something to look forward to quite so much.”

One of our colleagues did tell us that a clear day after snowfall could feel warmer than an overcast day without. And he was right. That was brought home even more when we returned to the relative warmth of Dubai, and found ourselves feeling cold in 15 degrees, when literally the day before, we’d been fine in -6 in Stockholm.

  1. Lighting – alright, I didn’t pay much attention to this in Stockholm, possibly because we were outdoors a lot, and didn’t go into very many buildings meant for public use (museums, malls, offices), but I’m still quite sure that most of the lighting there was yellow.

I understand that the bright glare of a white light tube light is not very hygge, but isn’t it tiring trying to figure out where all the yellow lamps should go?

Also, are those LED lights? CFL? Because if they’re incandescent, they’re definitely heating up the atmosphere. Or does the cold cancel out the heating effect (in terms of contribution to global warming)?

  1. Language – it’s not always easy to find instructions in English. I suppose that’s why it’s imperative that people who move to Sweden or Denmark learn the country’s language. Thankfully, most people speak English in both countries. And Google Maps works fairly well.