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Old 03-28-2016, 02:52 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573

*'Christening with champagne/Wine etc.*
Steamboating colleagues:
Jacob, a 'shy poster' sent a Private E=Mail here questioning about the tradition of 'Christening' a vessel--of any size. The tradition goes back to earliest of ancient times. The Mediterranean classic cultures--and others--had a kind of 'christening' then using olive oil or wine as a kind of libation to the gods. In time wine, champagne--even apple juice, fruit juices, water from the River Jordan--broken then on the bow. Later even 'eyes' were painted to ward off evil sprits, bad omens. Later the carved figures on bowsprits of women, eagles, men, lions etc. came into vogue. Northern Germanic lands, Scandinavia also mounted an evergreen or like a Christmas tree on the very top or bow with, at times, pine, oak garlanding. When Betty Blake and company had the then MISSISSIPPI QUEEN christened she had to 'correct' then John Warner, Secretary of the Navy, to have the Hon. Lenora Sullivan smash the champange on the MQ capstan on the bow and not have Mrs. Sullivan have to lean over to break the bottle on the hull. "No red blooded riverman would EVER christen a boat on the river other than on the capstan," she urged. Again, a vessel has a 'soul' or 'spirit.' Well, so much for this. Hope I haven't bored people. What do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River
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