Brian Collins – Initiation

My father recalls a ceremony he learned at the Naval Academy. He was about twenty years old when he experienced this in Annapolis, Maryland, during his junior year in college, about 20 years old.

Brian recalls, “At the Naval Academy, they have a ring dance during your junior year. And during the Ring Dance, they have a ceremony – after you finish your junior year you get your class ring – and so the Navy has, uh, different ships provide water from the seven seas, the seven oceans of the world, and they mix them all together in like a, uh, something equivocal to a baptismal fount. Then your date, who’s wearing your ring around her neck, dips it in the water. And that is symbolic of entering your senior year.  I think it’s just symbolic that you will be travelling the ocean as a Naval Officer.”

Brain thinks that, “It’s a very, uh, symbolic, traditional, you know, military ceremony that’s kind of like a rite of passage. It’s like passing through a milestone. “ Most ring ceremonies have this same sentiment, preparing a young adult for their last year of adolescence (especially in high school). The fact that it is the date of the man entering his senior year who wears the ring and dips it stands out to me. I wonder why it would not be the man himself who dips the ring. It’s considered bad luck to have a woman on board a ship, so I wonder why they are allowed to handle the ring the sailor will likely wear out to sea. Perhaps it is a reminder of female companionship while out at sea… I’m not certain. But, either way, my father wears his class ring often, especially when he’s looking to impress others, and I’m sure he remembers the ceremony fondly when he sees his ring.

Annotated: This ceremony can be seen as documented in the United States Naval Academy website.

“The Bonds of Gold.” United States Naval Academy. N.p., 2008. Web. 28 Apr 2011. <>.