by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog
Another day waking up to the rocking of the ocean and the sound of waves. I can’t believe we are counting down the days till we are home. We are both excited and sad at the same time.
Today had two special events a Remembrance Ceremony for Veterans Day and passing over the Equator celebration.
At 10 am, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean the officers of the Zuiderdam put on a ceremony to remember all who served for their country.
The service included readings of several well know hymns and poems: Abide With Me; Oh, God; Our Help in Ages Past; The Lord’s Prayer; In Flanders Field poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1915); We Shall Kerp the Faith by Moina Michael (1918); and, For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon (1914).
The part of the ceremony that brought tears to most people were passengers taking turns standing up and saying the names of people they knew who were lost during their service to their country.
The remembrance service ended with two minutes of silence throughout the ship.
After lunch, we celebrated the passing the Equator Event- the visit of King Neptune and Kissing the Fish Ceremony.
Kissing of the fish ceremony dates back hundreds of years as ships would cross the equator. Many of these ritual ceremonies developed in Naval Ships as a way to have fun and keep morale up.
The Crossing the Equator Ceremony was kind of a hazing event for people that had not been across the equator on a boat; they are called the Pollywogs. The ones that have gone through the ritual before are called the Shellbacks.
Someone dresses up as King Neptune and King Neptune’s Wife. There are often other roles such as: the main judge, jurors, nurses, and pirates.
The Pollywogs are charged with imaginary crimes and the jurors decide their fate.
The crew Pollywogs first have to bow to the fish. The used to kiss the fish but now because of Covid they now bow to the fish. Then they are laid on a table by the pool and doused with brightly covered meringue.
The jurors (which is the captain and some other high ranking officers) decide their fate. Some were told to jump in the pool which others had to sit on the side of the pool and let the meringue dry on them.
All the passengers come to watch this ritual. They even participate by yelling out the Pollywogs fate. It so cool to be a spectator of this ritual on the high seas.