Christening gowns came about during the Victorian era (which was around 1837 until the 1900’s). History says that baptisms were occasions that were greatly celebrated as a child was accepted into the Christian world. The Church then insisted that babies during baptism wear white as a symbol of innocence and purity.
After the christening, Victorian families would carefully store the gown to be passed down to the next child. Thus the tradition of turning christening dresses into family heirlooms began.
|Ivory Angelic Organza Float Christening Dress|
Fast-forward to almost a hundred years later, and white is still the preferred color. Also, many families still keep the baptismal garment as a remembrance of a beautiful celebration. While that remains the same, there are differences that have been brought about by changing times.
|Satin with Embroidered Organza Christening Gown|
First, we add beige and off-white to the repertoire of colors that can be worn by a child during baptism. Add to this the many designs, style additions, and dress lengths than can be chosen from. Second, this generation has smaller families, and so passing down a christening gown might mean having a child wear it once every few years. That’s why parents opt to just keep the original dress and purchase a new one for the next child.
|Traditional Christening Gown with Capsleeves|
But despite changing times, the essence of an heirloom remains the same. Being an heirloom no longer means passing it down from one generation to another. You can call a dress your family’s heirloom because your most precious treasure (your child) wore it on her special day.
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