Bathing in different cultures


Bathing is a process of cleaning your body through dipping in water. Taking a bath is mostly popular in the western part of the world but did you know that every country has their way of doing so. They even have their beliefs such as taking bath would bring them spiritually closer to their gods. This post will explore how important/ or how is taking a bath different from each culture. This post will not cover every bathing ritual or tradition that every country has to offer. This will just give you a few fascinating traditions and facts about it.

First of is Japan. Japan is a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means there are many active volcanoes in this country, leading to many natural hot springs. Onsen uses the water from natural hot springs in their bath houses while Sento is more of a traditional public bathhouse. In Onsen, has a policy of separating sexes in their bathhouse and if you have ink or tattoo on your body you are not allowed to go in; since tattoos are extremely taboo in the country and only associated to Yakuza or Japanese Mafia. Although there are a few private Onsen that allows people with tattoo, all you have to do is call in for a reservation for a private Japanese hot spring inn. It might be more expensive but doing this will give still give you a public bathhouse experience. Sento is more open in accepting people in their bathouse, any ages, whether you have a tattoo or not, you are welcome in this type of bathhouse. Sento used to have bath attendants called banto, their duty is to watch over the dressing are of both men and women. Now, most of public bathhouse in Japan has abandoned this practice. Instead the customer will have to pay for a ticket to access a locker in the dressing area.

Next is in Korea. Just like in Japan, bathhouse is also popular in Korea, they are called jimjilbang. Jimjilbang are open 24/7 and they offer different commodities such as food services, sauna, salt room, seawater bath, and swimming pool. They even offer milk baths for exfoliation and moisturizing. In short term, Jimjilbang is like a spa, it will help you relax and it will also give you an experience on to what Korean bathhouses are like.

In India, bathing twice a day is common since it is a very humid country. Hair grooming is also essential and they use coconut oil not only to their hair but also to their skin. Since it is known that coconut oil keeps your skin moisturized and it strengthens your hair. Their bathing technique is not like how westerns do it; loading the bathtub and dipping into water, they use a bucket of water and pitcher to pour water all over their body.

Just like in Korea and Japan, public bathhouses are also popular in China. On average, Chinese take a bath 3 times a week. They also strictly follow traditions like exfoliating with a bath towel after taking a bath, using public baths, and even not allowing women to take a bath for a month after giving birth.

In Mexico, citizens take a bath 3 times a week. Just like in India and Japan, hair grooming is also a top priority. The products they often use are Dove and St. Ives since it is accessible in the country.

Turkish bath is a public bathhouse associated with the culture of the Ottoman Empire. They have a particular bathing process in their public bathhouses. First it starts with a room heated with hot flowing, dry air, unlike in saunas that use steam. Then bathers will go to an even hotter room before they wash their body with cold water. After taking a cold bath, they will receive a full body massage. Bathers will then finish their public bathhouse experience to a cooling room for deeper relaxation.

Sauna or hot steam bath is popular in Finland and nearly all of Finns take a sauna once a week. The traditional Finnish saunas are hated with wooden stove so the sauna would be smoky. After taking a hot steam bath, Finns would take a cold bath for better blood circulation.

These are a few traditions from other countries. Hope this gave you an idea what it is like to take a bath in different areas around the world.