Navy's Blue Nose Tradition

Two Navy sailors chatting

U.S. Navy Traditions

For the nation's armed forces that conduct military operations at sea, proving worthy of the cold arctic winds is a gratifying enterprise. The sailor who succeeds will be certified and recognized as part of the Order of the Blue Nose. He will receive an official document attesting that he completed the line-crossing ceremony, has surpassed a series of challenges and demonstrated the capability of handling the harsh sailing environment. Order of the Blue Nose is an exclusive society in the U.S. Navy with a small number of members and being a part of it is both an honor and a priviledge. The sailor who wants to belong in this order has to undergo a tremendous trial before they can be called "Blue Nose."

Santa and elves 'were born into' Order of the Blue Nose, Navy says -  Business Insider


The tradition of the U.S. Navy crossing the equator started 400 years ago. It is an old tradition that remains popular up to this day. Crossing the equator is of great significance to any sailor. Only a few have surpassed the challenge in the U.S. Navy, which is why it is a coveted enterprise. By crossing the arctic circle, the sailor proves his capability in facing and handling rough seas. They are not considered a 'real sailor' unless they crossed that nautical line and reaches the true north. For the sailors who attempt to traverse the arctic circle, they will be called "pollywogs." They will undergo a 400-year-old ritual to prove that they have the qualities or abilities to be called a "Blue Nose." Early accounts of the Blue Nose Rituals were harsh. The tradition has changed over the years and now consists of games that can be both funny and humiliating. Dangerous tasks are also at hand for the aspiring "Blue Nose" sailors. The "shellbacks" are the members of the Order of the Blue Nose who have surpassed the first ritual. In the ceremonies, they will perform roles to help test the "pollywogs." Roles will be played and the leading character would be King Neptune. The "pollywogs" will be summoned by the god of the sea to test their prowess and prove themselves worthy of the transition. Ultimately, it will be all about the sailor needing to endure his first cruise across the equator.

Santa and elves 'were born into' Order of the Blue Nose, Navy says -  Business Insider


The evolving tradition of the U.S. Navy Blue Nose Ceremony has become more amusing and less dangerous. King Neptune's court is now the royal court of Boreas Rex, Aurora, and Lord Titan. U.S. Navy officials or "shellbacks" will play Boreas Rex, a character inspired by the Greek god of the north wind. Aurora is a character inspired by the natural phenomenon of light in the sky. And Titan, inspired by the older gods who come before the Olympians. The "pollywogs" have to request consent from these figures to cross the Arctic Circle. To be allowed entry, they need to undergo various challenges. They will be summoned to the royal court of Boreas Rex, Aurora, and Lord Titan. After completing the challenges, the worthy "pollywogs" will now belong to the Order of the Blue Nose and will be awarded the Shellback certificate.

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