Author Topic: Line Crossing Ceremony @ PN  (Read 2241 times)

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 11084
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Line Crossing Ceremony @ PN
« on: May 14, 2017, 12:33:07 AM »
Pollywog or Shellback: The Navy’s Line Crossing Ceremony Revealed
by David Moore Published: March 25, 2013 52 Comments

https://www.veteransunited.com/network/the-navys-line-crossing-ceremony-revealed/

The Navy is chock full of myth and tradition, and what happens at sea even affects our language. Many naval traditions, from the Sirens and Sea Monsters of the Odyssey to the boatswain’s call, date back hundreds and even thousands of years.

The Line Crossing Ceremony might just be the most interesting of today’s naval traditions.

A Time-Honored Tradition

Line crossing ceremonies have been a part of naval tradition for at least 400 years.

No one is really sure when or how the Line Crossing Ceremony, “Order of Neptune”, came about. The ritual dates back at least 400 years in Western seafaring.

The ceremony observes a mariner’s transformation from slimy Pollywog, a seaman who hasn’t crossed the equator, to trusty Shellback, also called a Son or Daughter of Neptune. It was a way for sailors to be tested for their seaworthiness.

When a ship crosses the equator, King Neptune comes aboard to exercise authority over his domain and to judge charges brought against Pollywogs that they are only posing as sailors and haven’t paid proper homage to the god of the sea.

High ranking members of the crew and those who have been Shellbacks the longest dress up in elaborate costume and each play the part of King Neptune’s court. For instance, the ship’s captain might play the part of King Neptune himself. What proceeds is a day of festivities, which builds camaraderie among the seafaring crew.

< Edited >

How to Perform a Line Crossing Ceremony

Each ship might have their own traditions and nuances, but the fundamental structure goes something like this:

1.  King Neptune and his royal court: his queen, Davy Jones, the royal baby, and other dignitaries, arrive to the ship the evening prior to the equator crossing.

2.  Pollywogs entertain the royal court with a talent show. Dancing, song, skits or poetry count among the merriment.

3.  After the show, Pollywogs receive a subpoena from Davy Jones to stand before the court the next day and answer to charges brought against them by the Shellbacks.

4.  After breakfast, which is made too spicy for the Pollywogs to eat, the accused appear before King Neptune, who sits in judgment. They perform a variety of activities which might involve wearing their clothes inside out or backwards and crawling across the deck through objectionable debris, often the uneatable breakfast that was served to the Pollywogs.

5.  Next, the Pollywogs kneel before the King and kiss the royal baby’s belly, which according to some accounts is covered in grease.

6.  Lastly, the Pollywogs take a royal bath in a pool of sea water before being declared Shellbacks, after which they receive their certificates, which they can proudly hang on their wall at home.

< Edited >

=====

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/behind-the-strange-and-controversial-ritual-when-you-cross-the-equator-at-sea

< Edited >

The fun has just begun, and it’s going to continue for another 24 hours.

This is the beginning of a line-crossing ceremony, a centuries-old ritual to inaugurate Equator-crossing virgins. Ship passengers who have never traversed the nautical line are forced to prove they are worthy to make the transition.

The tradition began with the Navy over 400 years ago, says anthropology and sociology professor Carie Little Hersh in her 2002 paper “Crossing the Line: Sex, Power, Justice, and the U.S. Navy at the Equator.” Given its long history, the ritual has changed over the years, but it remains a well-known—albeit sometimes controversial—linchpin of Naval culture. But line-crossing has expanded to other corners of seafaring culture, including the unlikely place of scientific research cruises. Even commercial cruise lines have been known to host some parts of the ritual.

Though ceremonies differ, there’s a general form and a common cast of characters. King Neptune is a prominent figure, as is his representative Davy Jones. Other people often show up, including a surgeon, a barber, people dressed as bears, and a judge. These roles are all played by “shellbacks”—those who have gone through the ritual before. The first-time participants are known as “pollywogs”.

< Edited >
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 01:02:31 AM by adroth »


adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 11084
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project