Mission Tradition

A FADA CELEBRATION REAWAKENS A CHIC SENSE OF RITUAL

By Monica Haim  |   Photography by Franz Pavan

We all know the drill when it comes to naming a newborn boy in Jewish culture: his moniker is given to him on the day of his Brit Milah. So the question begs: what honorable ritual is bestowed upon the birth of a new little girl? And the answer—according to certain Sephardic customs—is The Fada.

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According to standard Jewish law, girls are named during the first opportunity when the Torah is taken out of the Ark; and on any given week, the Torah is taken out on Mondays, Thursdays and on Shabbat (as well as on holidays and the beginning of every Jewish month). Typically, if the girl is born on a Wednesday, she is named on a Thursday, and if she is born on a Sunday, her naming takes place on a Monday, and so on. If, for whatever reason, she cannot be named during the first opportunity, then the naming takes place during the next possible chance. And sometimes, if a girl has never been officially named, there is always the option of officially giving her a name when she is an adult, whereupon she is given a Hebrew name.

In Judaism, the act of naming is crucial in that a name carries the essence of a person, and is fundamentally their fountain of life. It is said that when parents name a child, it is as if they are undergoing a flash prophecy, of sorts, one that they themselves may not be aware of at the time. Just as G-d created the world with the utterance and combination of letters that comprise words, so too, when we give a name to a child, it is the combination of those specific letters that give him or her life.

Even though a baby girl’s naming must take place during these designated specifications, the Fada can really happen at any given time (i.e., whenever it is convenient for the mother). For such an event, members of the community are invited to share in various prayers

The inspiration for this particular Fada, according to Evelyn Gaspar, who hosted the event at her home for her daughters, was a sense of pure femininity, as most classically expressed: through flowers and butterflies. She wanted to create a fresh afternoon atmosphere, and accomplished this with the use of lilac, pink and green floral arrangements, including roses and peonies; along with transparent, acrylic pieces to keep the mood breezy and clean.

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Instead of a traditional tablecloth, Gaspar with the help of Mint, a flower company from Panama, designed flowers for the edges of the tables in silk, and placed a glass on top. She used serving pieces in milk glass and featured edible butterflies made from pastry throughout. Additional tables boasted miniature chocolates encased in small pink, lilac and green papers. Outside guests were treated to a cupcake station, where pink and lilac lemonade was served on tap, and straws were decorated with delicate little butterflies. A coffee and tea station featured hand made tea bags, along with colored sugar to match the party’s palette.

So for those who feel that baby girls don’t get enough attention—it’s time to rethink the possibilities and throw a festive, feminine, fresh and unforgettable Fada.

 

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