Baptism is the first Christian sacrament and is the time when relatives and friends offer baptism medals, cradle medallions, gold chains, rosaries, crosses, candles of baptism or christening robes. All these gifts are a way of greeting a new birth.
The ritual of catholic baptism
Christian life has plenty of divine sacraments of which the first is Baptism. Then come Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Orders and Marriage.
Originally baptism involved total immersion in water (Baptism in fact comes from "immersion" in Greek). Thus, John the Baptist baptising Jesus remains the model of Christian baptism.
As the first of the seven sacraments in Christian life, baptism is a tradition that goes back to the very origins of the church. This sanctifying ritual means that God is the one that loves first. In the first Christian communities, adults were mostly baptised, sometimes alone, sometimes with all their family.
The fact that the baptised person belongs to the Christian world is defined as the symbol of God's love. Thus the baptism of babies takes on a special meaning. Holy water in baptismal fonts and oil are the constituent elements of the sacrament of initiation whereby children or adults enter the church's community.