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Such ceremonies for the commissioning of new ships were already in the 4th century BC. Chr. In Mesopotamia common. Even with the Greeks and Romans in the antiquity there were baptisms. In Japan and China, when launched, a line that connects the ship to the land is torn - similar to cutting the umbilical cord when a person is born. Elsewhere, wine was simply poured over the planks, but many other sometimes cruel rituals such as human sacrifices were also used.

T itanic and USS Enterprise NCC-1701B

The christening of the ship has an important symbolic meaning in seafaring and the renunciation of it is interpreted by the superstitious sea people as a bad omen. As "evidence" for this, reference is made to the fact that the Titanic, which perished on April 15, 1912 after an iceberg collision and which was considered unsinkable, was allegedly not baptized (but there was a baptism). Airships and spaceships are also christened. Even the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701B) from the TV series "Star Trek" was ceremonial with a futuristic Dom Pérignon of the year 2265 subjected to this ritual.

Champagne War and Century Trial Moët et Chandon vs. Söhnlein

According to an order by Kaiser Wilhelm I (1797-1888), the warships of the German Navy were only allowed to use one Söhnlein champagne be baptized. This made this brand the standard christening sparkling wine at the end of the 19th century. The baptism of the "Meteor" yacht by his grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) gave rise to a curious story in New York in 1902. It was intended that a bottle of German sparkling wine should be used by the U.S. President's daughter Alice Roosevelt. The resourceful representative of the house Moët et Chandon in the United States George A. Kessler (1863-1920), however, shortly before the launch, by bribing the shipyard owner with US $ 5,000, the planned Söhnlein sparkling wine "Rheingold" was exchanged for a bottle of "White Star" from his company. As a result, the dizziness caused a major scandal.

Ship christening - Söhnlein sparkling wine, Alice Roosevelt, White Star bottle, launch Meteor

The emperor had his ambassador recalled from France and there was a tremendous political saber rattle between Germany and France. Moët & Chandon sued the Söhnlein company for promoting their good faith by using their brand when the ship was christened. The lawsuit was dismissed. President Roosevelt, the process was very uncomfortable. He determined that the "Rheingold" sparkling wine brand should be used for upcoming American warships. The two sparkling wine brands became world famous due to the scandal. Curiously, the advertising impact for the "Rheingold" brand was many times stronger than it would have been if the intended bottle had been baptized smoothly.

Customs in modern times

In modern times, a bottle is usually used for baptism champagne or champagne smashed on the ship's wall. Oversizes such as Magnum (1.5 l), Jeroboam (3 l) or Rehoboam (4.5 l) used. In preparation, the thick glass of the bottle is sometimes prepared by scratching it and the ceremony is even practiced before some baptisms. In large ships, a lady preferably chops (men were not wanted until the 19th century) with a hatchet using a hatchet, which frees the bottle on another line to fly against the bow of the ship. In the case of small ships or boats, the champagne is also thrown on the line directly to the bow. Rarely is the bottle even smashed by hand on the bow. This brutal procedure can be very dangerous for both the Anabaptist and the ship.

Even after a ship has been renamed, a new baptism must take place. But before that there is a ceremonial farewell. After removing the old ship's name from the bow, stern, lifebuoys, lifeboats etc., a bottle Champagne poured over the ship's planks. See below Customs in viticulture a list of rituals, festivals and curious customs "all about wine".

Söhnlein Rheingold: Von Niestlé, public domain, link
Alice Roosevelt: By Théobald Chartran , public domain, link
Moët & Chandon White Star: By Alfons Mucha , public domain, link
Meteor: From Underwood & Underwood, Public Domain, Link

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