No one in the world has ever been able to "surpass" sea "wolves" by the number of legends, rituals and superstitions ...
The ritual “dances with a tambourine” started long before the ship left the stocks.
Redhead virgins - evil!
Here is an example: cursing, “like sailors”, ship carpenters behaved like Sunday school students when they were working or even were near the keel of a pledged ship.
It was considered a bad omen if the first strike of a shipmaster suddenly struck a spark - in the future a ship could burn out.
If during the construction even blood was accidentally spilled, the ship received the label of the “ship of death”, and it was already impossible to lure sailors to his crew.
In no case it was impossible to change the design of the vessel after the end of its construction, which, by the way, is relevant now - after all, everything is already calculated by professionals and all sorts of "here - cut off, here - add" can greatly harm.
Pigs, hares, priests and redheads were not allowed at the shipyard. As for pigs and hares, it is difficult to say why, but the redheads, it was believed, possessed an evil eye.The priests came only to consecrate the finished ship, their earlier appearance could attract evil forces to the still defenseless wreck.
Once upon a time the Vikings, building the Drakar, brought human casualties. Much later, this bloody custom became more humane - only the bones of animals were laid in the walls and floor of the wheelhouse. Shoes or items that have the shape of a shoe were also considered a suitable amulet. For example, on the Dutch ship Amsterdam, which sank in 1748 near Hastings (Sussex), a horse's skull and shoe-shoe were found in the hull. These items should have been (though they could not) protect the ship from danger.
On the ships of the US Navy, newcomers are still being sent to the most remote corner of the hold with a mandate: to find and tear to shine the supposedly golden rivet there. This custom started from the time when the masters “for luck” laid gold coins in the keel during the construction of the ship.
Well, as for the superstitions of the sailors themselves ...
"One hundred grams" for herring
There is such an old joke: fishermen got a little crucian. So small that they let him go free, but they had previously unintentionally dropped it in a glass of vodka. And then how the bite went - just manage to pull out the prey.All those caught fish lie on the shore, and one says: “You bastard, this crucian, lied about being poured and released ...”.
This anecdote, oddly enough, has a historical basis. Beginning approximately from the 16th century (and up to now), fishermen from Saint-Malo, the city that was once the pirate capital of France, were the first fish that was caught during the season to be “drunk” with wine and put into the sea. It was believed that the smell of alcohol will attract other fish and lure them into the net.
But this is one of the few superstitions that has a mercantile basis, so to speak. Most of the beliefs and rituals existed in order to protect the ship and its crew from destruction. For example, the British sincerely believed that any wooden object that fell overboard, be it a paddle or a cork from a barrel, is a forerunner of a shipwreck. And the only way to prevent trouble - without delaying to catch a piece of wood from the water and remove away from the board. True, there were exceptions. Say, the best way to call the wind is to throw an old ship's mop into the sea. But if the mop falls overboard by accident - this is a very bad sign.
If there is no extra mop on the ship, then it’s enough just to talk her overboard, and as soon as the wind blows, immediately put her in the hold, so as not to anger the sea gods.
Show the storm ...!
To call the wind, there are other ways, for example, you need to quietly whistle. The captains of the sailing ships, hitting a calm, began to whistle, lightly tapping or scraping the mast from the side from which the wind was needed. French sailors believe that it is still necessary to swear loudly and expressively. In general, with a whistle at the sea, you must be careful, but it is possible to get through to the storm. In many nations, whistling is considered a sin, since devils are the most notorious whistler, and this sound is only annoying for the masters of the oceans.
If the whistling and scraping of the results did not give, then, therefore, on board the ship is a sinner, who needs to be “calculated” and forced to repent. Even pirates who, as we understand, have a rather specific concept of sin, believed in this sign. In any case, a sinner who was discovered, but who did not want to repent, could have received a knife under his ribs.
Still, to cause a fair wind, it is possible to use plot. Sailors slander the names of all winds, while making notches on a small stick. Then the helmsman throws this wand behind his back into the sea, while uttering the gentle words of the "necessary" wind and scolding the "unnecessary" in every way.
If, on the contrary, it is necessary to “drive off” the storm to the side, then the captain could get a sword (or sea dirk) out of its sheath and knock it on the board from the side from which the elements were expected to arrive. But this action could only be performed by the captain of the ship.
A unique way to get rid of the opposite wind was applied by the sailors of Indonesia. Since the gods of the winds, in their view, were female beings, with all the intrinsic advantages and disadvantages of the ladies, the Indonesian seafarers ... were stripping naked and were fully demonstrating their virtues to the headwind. Being embarrassed by such shamelessness, the lady-storm simply had to turn aside, or change direction to the passing one.
Pat the "bun"
Most of the rituals were performed not only in order to save their own lives and the ship, but also as a safety net for fellow sailors. For example, it was impossible to turn a round bread, from which a slice is already cut off - at this moment a ship may tip over somewhere. If glassware suddenly tingle, you must immediately muffle it with your hand. This belief has gone from the sailors of South America, in their environment the clatter of dishes was considered funeral, and its termination could save a sinking sailor somewhere.
Families of British fishermen necessarily kept black cats in their homes — it was believed that they were able to “maintain” good weather during the fishery. Close relatives of French fishermen sculpted ships from bread, so that they protected the real ships that had gone into the open ocean.
A wife, accompanying her husband to the sea, should necessarily stroke his hand on the collar of his uniform for the sake of a happy return. The sailor himself could bring good luck to his side, before leaving the house by stroking the pubis of his wife or girlfriend, this ritual is called “stroke the bun.” But if the Danish "sea wolves" on the way to the ship came across a woman in a white apron, then it was necessary to get around the far side, otherwise the ship's death is inevitable.
Well, in no case can you point your finger, either in the open ocean, anywhere, in the port, at the ships. Such negligence promises a lot of any troubles, up to the shipwreck.
As for Mondays, Fridays and other "thirteenth" numbers, then the maritime "code of superstition" leaves all signs of "land rats" far beyond the board. For example, the Spaniards still consider Friday as the happiest day to go to sea, because it was on this day of the week that the expedition of Christopher Columbus began.And the French and English seafarers in every possible way avoid Fridays, the first Mondays of August, and also the dates of February 2 and December 31. All because once in these days there were serious shipwrecks.
The Scandinavians never started building a ship on Thursday, since it is the day of Thor - the lord of storms and the god of thunder and storms. The ill-fated Friday was also not quoted by the Vikings - this day belonged to the goddess Frigga, who knew everything in advance, capable, but not wanting to prevent misfortunes, which was extremely unpleasant for the sailors.
The most significant case of the "Friday" superstition occurred with the schooner "Thomas Lawson" in 1907. In a matter of hours, this huge, seven-ship, marching towards the English Channel, turned into a shapeless piece of iron, accidentally “meeting” the coastal cliffs of Annette Island. Not only did the crash happen on Friday, December 13, the name of the ship itself promised trouble.