Baptism of the line


A ceremony performed to those crossing the equator for the first time. All sailors aboard dress in quaint costumes. The Father of the line arrives in a cask accompanied by a courier, a devil, a hairdresser, and a miller. The unfortunate passenger has his hair curled, is sprinkled with flower, and is showered with water. The origination of this practice is not known, and neither is the purpose of the devil.

The custom is reminiscent of initiations into the trade guilds such as printing and is perhaps the precursor to college initiations. A.G.H.

Source: 9.