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Baptism of the line
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.
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