From Pollywogs to Shellbacks

Today we crossed the Equator. To mark the occasion, we participated in the Viking Equator Crossing Ceremony (Denise directly and Doug behind the camera.)

Throughout the ages, cultures have celebrated these line crossing rituals in different ways. Generally speaking, those who have already crossed the Equator are referred to as shellbacks, and those who haven’t are pollywogs. During these rites of passage, the pollywogs are put through their paces in order to be initiated into the ancient mysteries of the deep. Most ceremonies involve some level of embarrassment, and all pay homage to the gods of the seas.

The Viking ceremony honors Aegir, Norse God of the Seas. For our ceremony, all of the pollywogs lined up and waited their turn to appear before Aegir’s court, where their transgressions were announced before the crowd that decided their fate. Denise waited patiently in line with her friend Vonda, and when it was her turn, she was found guilty of having a birthday today. When that was announced, everyone on deck burst into a rowdy rendition of Happy Birthday!

After that, her “sentence” was to kiss the dead fish and jump into the pool.

Once out of the pool, it was time to drink shots of Aquivit and claim their status as shellbacks! It was great fun and a beautiful day for crossing the line.

Official certificate for crossing the Equator

7 thoughts on “From Pollywogs to Shellbacks

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