The precise meaning of baptism varies from one Christian denomination to the next. Some believe it to be a sacrament that conveys grace and removes original sin. Others see it as a means to create or strengthen faith. Some denominations see baptism as a sign that the child has joined the church or covenant community.
In modern usage, the term christening often means the same thing as baptism. However, christening originally meant the act of taking a Christian name in conjunction with the act of baptism. Christen means "to make Christian."
Bris is a Jewish ceremony in which a male child enters into a covenant with God through the act of ritual circumcision. The bris ceremony is performed when the child is eight days old. The practice of bris dates back to the patriarch Abraham and is a mark of the covenant God made with him. The male child is also named in conjunction with the bris ceremony.
The Jewish naming ceremony for female children is traditionally known as zeved habat. It is a celebration of blessing and deliverance and a prayer for good fortune for the child. This naming ceremony traditionally takes place on the first Shabbat after the birth.
First communion is a predominantly Roman Catholic ceremony in which a child first receives the sacrament of the Eucharist, i.e. communion, in fulfillment of Christ's instructions at the Last Supper. First communion is preceded by baptism and confession, and signifies that the child has attained an age of reason and is able to take part in the church's sacramental life.
Confirmation is a Christian sacrament that in most denominations is administered to older children of an age anywhere between seven and sixteen years. Confirmation is sometimes known as chrismation. It is commonly seen as a sacrament of religious maturity and of the imparting of the Holy Spirit.