Thursday, December 11, 2014

NAVY CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS – WHY NAVAL OFFICERS NEVER CLINK GLASSES WHILE MAKING A TOAST

NAVY SUPERSTITION  WHY SAILORS NEVER CLINK GLASSES
Navy Customs and Traditions
By
VIKRAM KARVE

At the start of a party or drinking session, Civilians or Pongos may clink their glasses and say “Cheers” and then start drinking!!! 

But you may notice that a Naval Officer does not clink glasses but will just hold up his glass in his hand and say “Cheers” followed by a toast.

Sailors don’t clink glasses.

Here is the reason for this Naval Custom (or you can call it a Navy Superstition):


WHY NAVAL OFFICERS NEVER CLINK GLASSES WHILE MAKING A TOAST

Most people clink glasses when they meet over a drink and make a toast for good luck and good health.

However, Naval Officers never clink glasses when they make a toast. 

They just hold up their glasses and say “Cheers” and voice the toast.

The reason for this is as follows.

In the early days of the past, when a sailor died at sea, his body was buried at sea, committed to the deep waters, to the Davy Jones’s Locker at the bottom of the ocean.

The ship’s bell would be sounded 8 times as a mark of respect to the departed soul of the deceased mariner during the funeral service for burial at sea.

On a ship at sea, 8 bells are sounded at the end of a watch.

The 8 bells sounded at the funeral of the sailor signified “End of the Watch” for the dead sailor.

This the striking of “Eight Bells” (a nautical euphemism for “finished watch”) during burial at sea symbolized the obituary of the dead seaman.

The sounding of 8 bells was a way of pronouncing that the dead sailor’s duty watch was finished forever.

The sound of clinking glasses is similar to the solemn toll of the ship’s bell as the body of a dead sailor was committed to the deep.

Thus, it was assumed that the clinking sound will herald the death of a sailor.

Hence, clinking of glasses on board ships was considered a bad omen.

There was another superstition to lessen the gravity of the evil portent in case a sailor inadvertently clinked his glass.

The sailor quickly silenced a clink that had mistakenly occurred with his hands or he quickly clinked a second time. 

It was thought that this would confuse the devil enough so that he might take a soldier instead.

So, if you are in the Navy, it is best not to clink your glass.

And, if by mistake, you clink your glass, remember to quickly clink it a second time.

Of course, this is all a myth, a superstition.

But the next time you see someone reluctant to clink his glass, you know that he is a navy officer or sailor.

Cheers !!!

VIKRAM KARVE
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