Come, come daughters . . .
The joy of the birth of a daughter is just like the joy of the birth of a son. The modern world presents before us the opportunity to express the equality in the value of human life in ceremonies that honor the birth of daughters and allow them to enter into the spiritual covenant between God and the Jewish people. Many people mark this event with a naming ceremony and a festive meal, very similar to the brit milah ceremony for baby boys.
It hasn't always been this way, though. From the times of the Bible and until the modern age, the patriarchal family structure with the father - the masculine - standing at its head, saw the woman either as her father's or her husband's property. This preference for the male, the masculine, was additionally expressed in ceremonies. This is the reason that the birth of a boy was celebrated in the family and the community with the brit milah ceremony, whereas the birth of a girl was marked only with giving her a name. During biblical times, a daughter was given her name following her birth. Later, she was given a name in the synagogue on the Sabbath following her birth by her father who received an aliyah to the Torah.
During the periods of the Mishnah and Talmud, there was a custom to plant a tree after the birth: A cedar for a son, and pine for a daughter (Gittin 57a). The branches of these trees were used during the time of their marriage for supporting the chuppah (marriage canopy). We hear of the name giving ceremony for the first time in the book One Hundred Blessings by Ferrara in 1554. The ceremony included the giving of a name, a blessing for the well-being of the mother and the daughter, and a meal. There was most likely no set time for the event.
From the rich Jewish tradition, a number of ceremonies have been developed in contemporary period, all of which come to answer the need for receiving a newborn daughter into the community.