It’s no secret that from the dawn of time humans have asked the heavens for guidance. In ancient eras, decisions of Estate always were determined by the final word of the Gods; Greeks, Romans and Ottomans always consulted oracles and prophets to interpret them with exactitud. Several ancestral practices have reached our modern times. Today we do it without thinking, by inertia, we don’t ask ourselves where all this ceremony and protocol comes from.
The ocean inspired respect, it is when we put ourselves in it’s hands that we achieve to understand how small we are; within it’s great void, in the middle of a blue dessert, we see the vastness of the world and how minuscule we are. It’s in this moment of consciousness when we are sunk with feelings of gratitude, hope and plenitud. It keeps us calm to know that we have done the right things from the start.
And by start we mean the moment we let the hull of a boat touch water for the first time, that it floats into what will be its eternal home; choosing a ship is choosing a life partner, and as if it was a human being, we christen it, but where does this gesture come from?
Traces of the ancient world
The ceremony is widely vinculated to the rooted traditions of the Egyptians, the Romans and the Greeks. Nowadays, the christening of a vessel marks an important date for its builders and owner; it’s the first time the ship will be set to the sea since its construction, at the same time, the name that it will hold forever will be given. This ritual represents the determination of decisions made toward its design, it says “the right choices were made”; it’s symbolism is important from a practical point of view.
One of the most common ceremonies of the present, consists in breaking a bottle on bow of the ship, marking its official inauguration.
In prior time periods, this tradition had a religious connotacion. The Greeks and Romans put their lives in the hands of the ocean Gods, their heads were adorned with olive branches and wine was freely given; this liquid was spilled on the ship in a way of blessing; this practice was included in several believes in different points of the continent during the launches of the vessels. This way, blessing and protection would be granted by the Gods.
Text: Gloria Bassaure ± Photo: HOUSEOFCO / DIADEMA / boerl and kroff / krug