Why are New Ships Christened with Champagne, How Did the Tradition Originate, and What Does it Mean?

Beginning around the tenth century with the idea that the departed spirits would guide seamen on the ocean, ships were christened, or blessed, with the blood of sacrificial victims, which was splashed throughout the vessel.

Eventually those who thought this too barbaric began using red wine, but the Christian church complained that this was an affront to its sacraments.

So ships were christened with white wine instead, the best of which is champagne.

In the Ottoman Empire, ship launchings were accompanied by prayers to Allah, the sacrifice of sheep, and traditional feasting.

The Vikings were also believed to have offered human sacrifice to appease the angry gods of the northern seas when a new ship was launched.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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