Neptune and the Pollywogs: Documenting the Royal Navys Traditional Crossing the Line Ceremony by Paul WhiteLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
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Sports Deck during Neptune Ceremony
The line-crossing ceremony is an initiation rite that commemorates a person's first crossing of the Equator. Equator-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring King Neptune, are common in the navy and are also sometimes carried out for passengers' entertainment on civilian ocean liners and cruise ships. They are also performed in the merchant navy and aboard sail training ships. Throughout history, line-crossing ceremonies have sometimes become dangerous hazing rituals. Most modern navies have instituted regulations that prohibit physical attacks on sailors undergoing the line-crossing ceremony.
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. The ritual dates back at least 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.
King Neptune and his court were present in all their glory to welcome a new group of shellbacks to the family. Neptune Day is a long-standing naval tradition, but Semester at Sea does it a little differently. Neptune Day celebrations include completing a series of questions and rituals like getting dunked with fish guts and kissing the ring of King Neptune. Voyagers also have the option of shaving their head. Much of Neptune Day is planned by King Neptune and his court.
Equator-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring King Neptune, are also sometimes carried out for passengers' entertainment on civilian ocean liners and cruise ships. The ceremonies are also performed in the merchant navy and aboard sail training ships. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are known as Shellbacks, and those who have not are nicknamed as Tadpoles or Pollywogs. The ritual is a ceremony presided over by King Neptune the ancient ruler of the seas who wears a gold crown and holds a trident. Sitting beside him is his wife Queen Amphitrite.