Water among people’s habits and traditions in religions and old cultures
1 IntroductionThis is my second English report. So it supposed to mean that I already have experience and the report is not a big deal for me. Well, everything is not so simple. First of all, new topic means new unknown words, phrases and so on. My first report was classed well, so now I still feel responsibility to make it even better because of perfection progress. Actually, I don’t think it is easy, so there’s a psychological problem.It was hard and confusing to separate all the water information from other text, because water is usually just a part of traditions or habits. And when it’s separate it is not easy to understand the point of quote. So in some texts I have left this additional information, which I hope will help to understand everything better. In order to find main sentences, I have sharpened the shift. The topic was difficult because it’s very wide. There already is a lot of information in my report, but I still feel that it could be more. Against all the odds, I’ve put a lot of work to this report and I hope it is good.
2 Contents1 Introduction 22 Contents 23 Religions 33.1 Christianity 33.1.1 Holy Water 43.1.2 A Basic Exorcism Rite 53.2 Islam 83.3 Buddhism 83.4 Hinduism 83.5 Judaism 93.6 Bahá’í 103.7 Shinto 103.8 Zoroastrianism 114 Old cultures 124.1 Ancient Egypt 124.1.1 What Did The Nile River Give To Ancient Egypt? 124.1.2 River Entertainment 134.1.3 Egyptian Mid-Day Ritual 144.2 Ancient Rome 184.2.1 The Romanian baths! 184.2.2 The Wedding Ceremony 234.2.3 A Couple Of Other Facts 254.3 China 254.3.1 Ancient Customs and Games in China 254.3.2 Customs Of Pregnancy 274.3.3 The Customs Of Tajik People 294.4 The Customs of the Thousand Lakes Province 294.5 Greece 314.5.1 Ancient Greek Marriage 31The Wedding Ceremony 315 Summary 356 References 35Looking at water, you might think that it’s the simplest thing around. Pure water is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. But it’s not at all simple and plain and it is vital for all life on Earth. Where there is water there is Life, and where water is scarce, life has to struggle or just “throw in the towel.” So what is it about water that makes it so important to us? Is it important in ours’ religion and religious rites? Was it important to peoples of ancient civilizations, the civilizations that have made an influence to our daily round?
3 ReligionsWater has a central place in the practices and beliefs of many religions for two main reasons. Firstly, water cleanses. Water washes away impurities and pollutants, it can make an object look as good as new and wipe away any signs of previous defilement. Water not only purifies objects for ritual use, but can make a person clean, externally or spiritually, ready to come into the presence of his/her focus of worship. Secondly, water is a primary building block of life. Without water there is no life, yet water has the power to destroy as well as to create. We are at the mercy of water just as we are at the mercy of our God or gods. The significance of water manifests itself differently in different religions and beliefs but it is these two qualities of water that underlie its place in our cultures and faiths.
3.1 ChristianityAlmost all Christian churches or sects have an initiation ritual involving the use of water. Baptism has its origins in the symbolism of the Israelites being led by Moses out of slavery in Egypt through the Red Sea and from the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan. After Jesus’ resurrection he commanded his disciples to baptise in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). Baptism is regarded differently in different denominations within Christendom. Baptism is a symbol of liberation from the oppression of sin that separates us from God. Except for within the Catholic Church, it is believed that baptism does not in itself cleanse one from sin, but is rather a public declaration of a person’s belief and faith in Christ and it is a sign of welcome into the Church. The Catholic Church, however, believes that a real change occurs at baptism – it is more than just symbolism – it is at baptism that Catholics believe that the stain of original sin is actually removed from the individual. The use of water is important for its own symbolic value in three ways: it cleanses and washes away dirt, fills everything it enters as God fills those who are immersed in Him and we need water to survive physically as we need God to survive spiritually. In the early church baptism was usually performed with the person standing in water and with water being poured over the upper part of the body. This was called ‘immersion’ but today the term refers to the method of dipping the whole body under water which is used, for example, by the Baptist and Orthodox churches. In most Western churches today the rite is performed by pouring water over the head three times (affusion) and sometimes sprinkling water over the head (aspersion).Another important significance of water for Christianity is the “living water” that Jesus described himself as. John 4: 1-42 is the story of Jesus and a Samaritan woman to whom he offers living water so that she will never thirst again, in other words eternal life through him. Read the story here.Holy water is water which is blessed for use in certain rites, especially that which is blessed at the Easter Vigil for baptism of catechumens. The use of water other than for baptism goes back to the 4th century in the East and the 5th century in the West. The custom of sprinkling people with water at mass began in the 9th century. At this time ‘stoups’, basins for holy water from which people could sprinkle themselves on entering a church, were in common use. Holy water is also used at blessings, dedications, exorcisms and burials.Ablutions in Christianity are mainly baptism and the washing of fingers and communion vessels after the communion. This takes place in two parts. Firstly the chalice is rinsed with the wine, and then the chalice and priests’ fingers with wine and water. This ablution is important because after the bread and wine has been consecrated, Christ is believed to be present.
3.1.1 Holy WaterThe use of holy water in the earliest days of the Christian Era is attested by documents of only comparatively late date. The “Apostolic Constitutions”, the redaction of which goes back to about the year 400, attribute to the Apostle St. Matthew the precept of using holy water. The letter written under the name of Pope Alexander I, who lived in the second century, is apocryphal and of more recent times; hence the first historical testimony does not go back beyond the fifth century. However, it is permissible to suppose for the sake of argument that, in the earliest Christian times, water was used for expiatory and purificatory purposes, to a way analogous to its employment under the Jewish Law. As, in many cases, the water used for the Sacrament of Baptism was flowing water, sea or river water, it could not receive the same blessing as that contained in the baptisteries. On this particular point the early liturgy is obscure, but two recent discoveries are of very decided interest. The Pontifical of Scrapion of Thumis, a fourth-century bishop, and likewise the “testamentum Domini”, a Syriac composition dating from the fifth to the sixth century, contain a blessing of oil and water during Mass. The formula in Scrapion’s Pontifical is as follows: “We bless these creatures in the Name of Jesus Christ, Thy only Son; we invoke upon this water and this oil the Name of Him Who suffered, Who was crucified, Who arose from the dead, and Who sits at the right of the Uncreated. Grant unto these creatures the power to heal; may all fevers, every evil spirit, and all maladies be put to flight by him who either drinks these beverages or is anointed with them, and may they be a remedy in the Name of Jesus Christ, Thy only Son.” As early as the fourth century various writings, the authenticity of which is free from suspicion, mention the use of water sanctified either by the liturgical blessing just referred to, or by the individual blessing of some holy person. St. Epiphanius records that at Tiberias a man named Joseph poured water on a madman, having first made the sign of the cross and pronounced these words over the water: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, crucified, depart from this unhappy one, thou infernal spirit, and let him be healed!” Joseph was converted an subsequently used the same proceeding to overcome witchcraft; yet, he was neither a bishop nor a cleric. Theodoret relates that Marcellus, Bishop of Apamea, sanctified water by the sign of the cross and that Aphraates cured one of the emperor’s horses by making it drink water blessed by the sign of the cross. In the West similar attestations are made. Gregory of Tours tells of a recluse named Eusitius who lived in the sixth century and possessed the power of curing quartan fever by giving its victims to drink of water that he had blessed; we might mention many other instances treasured up by this same Gregory. It is known that some of the faithful believed that holy water possessed curative properties for certain diseases, and that this was true in a special manner of baptismal water. In some places it was carefully preserved throughout the year and, by reason of its having been used in baptism, was considered free from all corruption. This belief spread from East to West; and scarcely had baptism been administered, when the people would crown around with all sorts of vessels and take away the water, some keeping it carefully in their homes whilst others watered their fields, vineyards, and gardens with it. However, baptismal water was not the only holy water. Some was permanently retained at the entrance to Christian churches where a clerk sprinkled the faithful as they came in and, for this reason, was called hydrokometes or “introducer by water”, an appellation that appears in the superscription of a letter of Synesius in which allusion is made to “lustral water placed in the vestibule of the temple”. This water was perhaps blessed in proportion as it was needed, and the custom of the Church may have varied on this point. Balsamon tells us that, in the Greek Church, they “made” holy water at the beginning of each lunar month. It is quite possible that, according to canon 65 of the Council of Constantinople held in 691, this rite was established for the purpose of definitively supplanting the pagan feast of the new moon and causing it to pass into oblivion. In the West Dom Martène declares that nothing was found prior to the ninth century concerning the blessing and aspersion of water that takes place every Sunday at Mass. At that time Pope Leo IV ordered that each priest bless water every Sunday in his own church and sprinkle the people with it: “Omni die Dominico, ante missam, aquam benedictam facite, unde populus et loca fidelium aspergantur”. Hincmar of Reims gave directions as follows: “Every Sunday, before the celebration of Mass, the priest shall bless water in his church, and, for this holy purpose, he shall use a clean and suitable vessel. The people, when entering the church, are to be sprinkled with this water, and those who so desire may carry some away in clean vessels so as to sprinkle their houses, fields, vineyards, and cattle, and the provender with which these last are fed, as also to throw over their own food”. The rule of having water blessed for the aspersion at Mass on Sunday was thenceforth generally followed, but the exact time set by Leo IV and Hincmar was not everywhere observed. At Tours, the blessing took place on Saturday before Vespers; at Cambrai and at Aras, it was to be given without ceremony in the sacristy before the recitation of the hour of Prime; at Albi, in the fifteenth century, the ceremony was conducted in the sacristy before Terce; and at Soissons, on the highest of the sanctuary steps, before Terce; whereas at Laon and Senlis, in the fourteenth century, it took place in the choir before the hour of Terce. There are two Sundays on which water is not and seems never to be blessed: these are Easter Sunday and Pentecost. The reason is because on the eve of these two feasts water for the baptismal fonts is blessed and consecrated and, before its mixture with the holy chrism, the faithful are allowed to take some of it to their homes, and keep it for use in time of need.
3.1.2 A Basic Exorcism Rite“Therefore fear not the Spirits, but be firm and courteous with them; for thou hast no right to despise or revile them; and this too may lead thee astray. Command and banish them, curse them by the Great Names if need be; but neither mock or revile them, for so assuredly wilt thou be led to error.” The practice of exorcism is an art and a science in its own right. No single ritual or formula can cover all the variables that the exorcist may encounter. The following ritual is intended as a simple, practical introduction to the basic principles and techniques of exorcism for Thelemic practitioners. It can, and should, be modified and adapted to accommodate different situations as the exorcist gains experience. For example, exorcisms performed for non-Thelemites may require the substitution of the trappings of another religious system for those of Thelema as given below. Performing exorcisms for those who do not believe in “spirits” will require further modifications. As with all practical magical operations, exorcism should be performed in conjunction with the appropriate mundane measures. Depending on the individual circumstances, such measures may include: medical treatment; counseling; improvements in hygiene, diet and lifestyle; companionship; and even a little healthy skepticism and humor.(The Exorcist may be either a Priest, Priestess or Deacon. The exorcism is always performed by request, and the person requesting the exorcism should be present. If appropriate, this person should actively participate in the ceremony as an assistant to the Exorcist. The Exorcist is armed with the Stele of Revealing, a candle, the Book of the Law, and a bell; a censer and a cup of water or Font; a vial of Holy Oil, a slip of paper and a red pen; and a sword. A shewstone or similar device may also be used. If the Rite is to be performed in Temple, all these (except the cup or Font) are placed upon the Altar of Incense. If not, they are placed on a table in the East.The Exorcist enters and banishes according to Liber XXV or the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. If success is not thereby achieved, s/he continues as follows:) The EXORCIST (takes water from the Font and sprinkles the Subject, saying): “So therefore first the Priest who governeth the works of Fire, must sprinkle with the Water of the loud-resounding Sea!”The EXORCIST (lights the charcoal in the censer, places incense therein and censes the Subject, saying): “When thou shalt behold that holy and formless Fire shining flashingly through the depths of the Universe: Hear thou the Voice of Fire!” The EXORCIST (in a low but commanding tone): “O thou mischievous spirit, who hast unlawfully [usurped the Throne of the Master][intruded into the Sanctuary][etc.]: by the Great Name IAO, I, the servant of the Same Thy God, the True Worshipper of the Highest, command thee to reveal unto me thy name, correctly, at length, and without delay.”(Done. The Exorcist, or assistant, writes the name (N.) on a slip of paper, opens the Book, places the paper upon the open book, and lights the candle. If the exorcist deems it necessary– and feasible– the spirit may also be commanded by name to reveal itself to the exorcist and assistant for questioning. For such a purpose, a shewstone or similar device may be used.) (The Exorcist now proceeds according to increasing levels of intensity, as necessary. As soon as success is achieved, the Exorcist proceeds immediately to the Conclusion.)The EXORCIST (in a low but commanding tone): “O thou mischievous spirit, who hast unlawfully [usurped the Throne of the Master][intruded into the Sanctuary][etc.]: by the Great Name IAO, I, the servant of the Same Thy God, the True Worshipper of the Highest, command thee to reveal unto me thy name, correctly, at length, and without delay.”(Done. The Exorcist, or assistant, writes the name (N.) on a slip of paper, opens the Book, places the paper upon the open book, and lights the candle. If the exorcist deems it necessary– and feasible– the spirit may also be commanded by name to reveal itself to the exorcist and assistant for questioning. For such a purpose, a shewstone or similar device may be used.) (The Exorcist now proceeds according to increasing levels of intensity, as necessary. As soon as success is achieved, the Exorcist proceeds immediately to the Conclusion.)First Level — the License to Depart: The EXORCIST: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. O thou spirit N., thou hast strayed from thy true course, and thy trespass has been discovered by the conflict and sorrow that have been its result.” (The Exorcist traces a on the subject, or on the subject’s brow, with Holy Oil, or in the air with his/her right hand, saying:) “By the Sign of Light, I now open a way for thee; I loose thy bonds; I lift thee up; I give thee leave to depart in peace, and so to return to thy lawful course; and may the Lord bring thee to the accomplishment of thy True Will. Love is the law, love under will.”Second Level — the Adjuration, or Command to Depart:The EXORCIST (loudly): “O thou spirit N., I command thee to withdraw and depart, without further delay! Return now from whence thou came, and come not again unless summoned in due form! Begone, I say, in the Name of IAO!”Second Level — the Adjuration, or Command to Depart:The EXORCIST (loudly): “O thou spirit N., I command thee to withdraw and depart, without further delay! Return now from whence thou came, and come not again unless summoned in due form! Begone, I say, in the Name of IAO!” Third Level — the Banishment: The EXORCIST (raises the Stele, and declares in a loud voice): “O thou Spirit N., thy impertinence shall bring thee to destruction, for the God of War and of Vengeance has spied thee with His Hawk’s Eye! Flee! Flee, before the Force and Fire of RA HOOR KHUIT! Flee, lest His terrible wrath be aroused against thee and all thy kin, and thou art crushed in His mighty Hand until nought remains!”Fourth Level — the Curse:The EXORCIST (as RHK, takes up the sword in the right hand, and points it at the Subject; takes up the name in the left hand, and crushes it): “I am upon thee! Thou shalt not stand before me! Thou hast rejected the Truth, and thou art accurséd unto the aeons! I spew thee out! I cast thee into the Abyss! I burn thy carcass to ashes, that no trace or remembrance of so vile a being may remain among men.” (The Exorcist casts the name into the censer, intoning the following as it burns:) “Amri maratza, maratza, atman deona lastadza maratza maritza — marán!”Conclusion:The EXORCIST: “I sound the bell.” (Done, 3-5-3)“I close the book.” (Done) “I quench the candle.” (Done)(The Exorcist traces a Pentagram on the Subject, or the Subject’s brow, with Holy Oil; or in the air with the sword, saying:)“By the Sign of Light, I seal this Sanctuary.”The EXORCIST: Now I begin to pray: Thou Child,Holy Thy name and undefiled!Thy reign is come; Thy will is done.Here is the Bread; here is the Blood.Bring me through midnight to the Sun!Save me from Evil and from Good!That Thy one crown of all the TenEven now and here be mine. AMEN.3.2 IslamIn Islam water is important for cleansing and purifying. Muslims must be ritually pure before approaching God in prayer. Some mosques have a courtyard with a pool of clear water in the centre, but in most mosques the ablutions are found outside the walls. Fountains symbolising purity are also sometimes found in mosques. In Islam ritual purity (called tahara) is required before carrying out religious duties especially salat (worship).There are three kinds of ablutions. Firstly, ghusl, the major ablution, is the washing of the whole body in pure water, after declaring the intention to do so. Muslims are obliged to perform ghusl after sex which incurs a state of major ritual impurity. Ghusl is also recommended before the Friday prayer, the two main feasts, and before touching the Koran. Ghusl must be done for the dead before they are buried.The second ablution is wudu, the minor ablution, which is performed to remove minor ritual impurity from everyday life. This must be done before each of the five daily prayers and involves using pure water to wash the face with pure water, rub the head with water, wash the hands and arms up to the elbows and the feet up to the ankles. This comes from the Koran 5: 7/8 “O you who believe, when you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hand to the elbows; rub your head and your feet to the ankles” and is elaborated on in great detail in the Sunna. Every mosque has running water for wudu. The third type of ablution is performed when no water is available. In this case clean sand may be used.
3.3 BuddhismFor Buddhists symbolism and ritual is pointless because they seek spiritual enlightenment that comes from seeing the reality of unreality. Bodhidharma, thought to be the first teacher of Zen Buddhism said this in the 5th Century CE:“This mind is the Buddha. I don’t talk about precepts, devotions or ascetic practices such as immersing yourself in water and fire, treading a wheel of knives, eating one meal a day, or never lying down. These are fanatical, provisional teachings. Once you recognise your moving, miraculously aware nature, yours is the mind of all buddhas.”Water does however feature in Buddhist funerals where water is poured into a bowl placed before the monks and the dead body. As it fills and pours over the edge, the monks recite “As the rains fill the rivers and overflow into the ocean, so likewise may what is given here reach the departed.”
3.4 HinduismWater in Hinduism has a special place because it is believed to have spiritually cleansing powers. To Hindus all water is sacred, especially rivers, and there are seven sacred rivers, namely the Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri. Although Hinduism encompasses so many different beliefs among those that most Hindus do share is the importance of striving to attain purity and avoiding pollution. This relates to both physical cleanliness and spiritual well-being.Pilgrimage is very important to Hindus. Holy places are usually located on the banks of rivers, coasts, seashores and mountains. Sites of convergence, between land and river or two, or even better three, rivers, carry special significance and are specially sacred. Sacred rivers are thought to be a great equalizer. In the Ganges the pure are made even more pure and the impure have their pollution removed if only temporarily. In the sacred water distinctions of caste are supposed to count for nothing, as all sins fall away. Kumbhamela is a pilgrimage of Hindu devotees and is held every three years at four different places in turn – Hardwar, Nasik, Prayaga and Ujjain. These places are believed to be where drops of amrta – the nectar of immortality – fell to earth during a heavenly conflict.The Ganges river is the most important of the sacred rivers. Its waters are used in puja (worship) and if possible a sip is given to the dying. It is believed that those who bathe in the Ganges and those who leave some part of themselves (hair, bone etc) on the left bank will attain Svarga (the paradise of Indra). The river is said to flow from the toe of Vishnu to be spread into the world through the hair of Shiva. Funeral grounds are always located near a river. Sometimes at the funeral a small hole is drilled in an earthen pot, which is then filled with water. As the son of the deceased walks around the burning funeral pyre with the pot, dripping water forms a limiting line to prevent the soul from escaping back into the earth as a ghost. When the heat of the pyre cracks the skull of the corpse, the mourners bathe in the river and return home. On the third day after the cremation the ashes are collected and, on or after the tenth day they are cast into a holy river.For Hindus, morning cleansing with water is a basic obligation. Tarpana is the point at which the worshipper makes a cup with his hands and pours the water back into the river reciting mantras. After sipping some water, he may then apply the distinguishing mark of his sampradaya (tradition), and say the morning prayer, samdhya. Sodhana is Hindu purification and is necessary for different reasons and at different levels. Physical purification is a part of daily ritual which may, in the case of sadhus (Hindu holy people who renounce the world seeking Brahman), be very elaborate. Sodhana is also necessary if caste rules have been broken, for example if someone drinks from the same vessel as a member of a lower caste, and before puja. Every temple has a pond near it and devotees are supposed to take a bath before entering the temple.The story of the Great Flood of Manu appears in Hindu scriptures. This is the story of how all creation is submerged in a great deluge but Manu is rescued by a fish that he once saved from being eaten by a larger fish. The fish told him to build a large boat and to take into it seeds and animals. The fish then towed the boat to safety by anchoring it on the highest of the Himalayas. He stayed on the mountain (known as Manu’s Descent) while the flood swept away all living creatures. Manu alone survived.
3.5 JudaismIn Judaism ritual washing is intended to restore or maintain a state of ritual purity and its origins can be found in the Torah. These ablutions can be washing the hands, the hands and the feet, or total immersion which must done in ‘living water’, i.e. the sea, a river, a spring or in a mikveh. In Temple times ablutions were practised by priests, converts to Judaism as part of the initiation rites and by women on the seventh day after their menstrual period. Priests had to wash their hands and feet before taking part in Temple services. The ritual washing of hands is performed before and after meals and on many other occasions.The story of the Great Flood is told in Genesis 6-8. God destroyed humanity by sending a great flood. Only Noah and his family and a pair of each animal were saved in the ark built by Noah. Afterwards God promised he would never attempt to destroy the earth again and sent the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. The story of a Great Flood is also found in other cultures such as the Australian Aborigines and some Pacific Islanders. The Israelites’ story is different to these because it emphasises the ethical demands of God. The flood is a divine punishment from which Noah survives because of his moral worthiness. The Flood washed away all the sins of the world so that we could start afresh. This is echoed in Christianity by the death and resurrection of Christ that eradicates sin so that nothing will stand in the way of man and God.The Red Sea is significant in Jewish history because its parting by Moses was a miraculous event at the beginning of the Exodus which enabled the Israelites to escape from the Egyptian army that was chasing them. God allowed Moses to part the sea so that the Israelites could walk safely to the other side on dry land, while the Egyptians drowned as the sea came together again. This miracle was a reward for the faith of Moses and the Israelites, God’s Chosen People. The parting and crossing of the Red Sea shows that God has power over nature, even the mighty oceans. Water here is powerful, but an instrument of God for punishment (for the Egyptians) and blessing (for the Israelites).A mikveh is a Jewish ritual bath used for cleansing after contact with a dead body or after menstruation. It can also be used used for immersing vessels and as part of the initiation ceremony for converts. Only water that has not previously been drawn into a container can be used, and there must be no leakages. The mikveh has its origins in Ancient times when people had to be purified in a mikveh before they could enter the Temple area. Water in this case is important for its cleansing properties.
3.6 Bahá’íWater is fundamental in the rites, language and symbolism of all religions, and the Bahá’í Faith is no exception. There are Bahá’í laws concerning water and cleanliness, and many ways that water is used as a metaphor for spiritual truths. This brief summary of the Bahá’í perspective on water is based as far as possible on direct quotations from the Bahá’í Writings. (Full article by Arthur Lyon Dahl) In a more general context, the Bahá’í Faith places great importance on agriculture and the preservation of the ecological balance of the world. Water is of course a fundamental resource for agriculture. It is essential to the functioning of all ecological communities and plays a key role in all the life support systems of the planet. It is essential to life itself, which is why it is so often used in spiritual symbolism. Water is an important medium for linking us with the environment in the complex interactions that are such an important feature of our integrated planetary system. For Bahá’ís, respect for the creation in all its beauty and diversity is important, and water is a key element of that creation. “The Almighty Lord is the provider of water, and its maker, and hath decreed that it be used to quench man’s thirst, but its use is dependent upon His Will. If it should not be in conformity with His Will, man is afflicted with a thirst which the oceans cannot quench.” (`Abdu’l-Bahá, in Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude (compilation), pages 231-232) The wise management of all the natural resources of the planet, including water, will require a global approach, since water is not a respecter of national boundaries. The use, sharing, protection and management of water need to be governed by spiritual principles of justice and equity, and the fundamental concept of moderation. Decisions on water need to be taken through processes of consultation involving all those concerned or affected.
3.7 ShintoShinto is Japan’s indigenous religion and is based on the veneration of the kami – the innumerable deities believed to inhabit mountains, trees, rocks, springs and other natural phenomenon. Worship of kamis, whether public or private, always begins with the all important act of purification with water. Inside the many sacred shrines troughs for ritual washing are placed. Waterfalls are held sacred and standing under them is believed to purify. Waterfalls are also used in suigyo (water austerities).
3.8 ZoroastrianismThe significance of water in Zoroastrianism is a combination of its purifying properties and its importance as a fundamental life element. Therefore, while water is used in purification rites and rituals it is sacred itself and so must be kept from being polluted.Zoroastrianism is a very dualistic creed with a great emphasis placed on the opposing forces of good and evil. When the world was created the Evil Spirit Angra Mainyu attacked the earth and among other things made pure water salty. Zoroastrians believe that pollution is evil and that water, when pure, is sacred. Zoroastrians themselves must avoid pollution of any kind and must perform ritual ablutions before saying their prayers (which are said 5 times a day facing a source of light) and before any religious ceremonies such as weddings. Purity and pollution are central concerns in Zoroastrian thought and practice. For minor pollutions, padyab-kusti is performed, which involves washing and saying special prayers (kusti). On special occasions such as weddings or initiations, nahn is performed which combines padyab-kusti with the symbolic eating of a pomegranate leaf and the drinking of nirang (ritual cow’s urine) for spiritual cleansing. This is followed by the prayer of repentance, the Patet, and finally a bath. Serious pollution, for example contact with a corpse, requires the nine day baresnum ceremony which is held in the temple precincts and includes periods of prayer and washing with the aid of priests.The sanctity of water is very important to Zoroastrians. People must not urinate, spit or wash one’s hands in a river or allow anyone else to. In Zoroastrianism the dead are not cremated, buried or immersed in water because fire, earth and water must be kept pure. Thus, corpses are left to birds of prey. Zoroastrians believe in 6 benevolent divine beings known as Amesha Spentas, which with God’s Holy Spirit, Spenta Mainyu are linked with God’s (Ahura Mazda’s) creation, certain priestly rituals, observances by laypeople and the seven holy days of obligation. The Amesha Spentas are believed to dwell within each of their creations while at the same time remaining aspects of God’s nature. Each Amesha Spenta protects its creation and represents an aspect of Ahura Mazda and a feature of the good creation. These creations are the means by which worshippers can approach Ahura Mazda and by which Ahura Mazda can approach his worshippers. Haurvatat (meaning wholeness, health and integrity) is a feminine being and the creator of water and is represented by consecrated water used in priestly acts of worship. The holy day of Haurvatat and water is in midsummer and people pray and make offerings by the seashore or any natural water. In everyday life Haurvatat is observed by keeping water unpolluted and being temperate and self-disciplined. Haurvatat is the personification of what salvation means to the individual.Zoroastrianism also has a Great Flood story. Ahura Mazda warned Yima that destruction in the form of floods, subsequent to the melting of the snow, was threatening the sinful world and gave him instructions for building a vara in which specimens of small and large cattle, humans, dogs, birds, fires, plants and foods were to be deposited in pairs.
4 Old culturesWhy are these important to us? Our today’s world is originated from old civilizations. These civilizations gave us a lot of things: inventions, discoveries, philosophy, perception of many things, basic ideas of faith even traditions or habits. So what is about water? How important was it to ancient people’s daily life? In this subtopic we can compare this importance with ours.In the part of ancient Egypt there are quite enough information to know what were Egyptian water traditions and habits like, but in topics about Rome, China and Greece there are some information more just for interest.
4.1 Ancient EgyptAs now, in old times water was very important in society. Water is the basic substance of life. It is creator of a lot of things, not accepted ancient civilizations, such as Egyptian. So it is evident that water was used in Egyptians‘ routine, in their habits and also traditions. In this part of my report I’ll give as much information about that as I could find. Before speaking about some traditions or habits about water we have to know how much and why is it important to Egyptians. In Egypt civilization the main source of water was The Nile river, so:
4.1.1 What Did The Nile River Give To Ancient Egypt? Water to drink Water to bathe in Rich soil to grow their crops Water to water their crops with A means of transportation A source of food (fish) A source for entertainment (swimming, boating, fishing, etc.). Fish. The Nile River served as a source of food for the people of ancient Egypt. The river had a lot of fish including catfish and perch. Transportation. The Nile was the main means of travel for the people of ancient Egypt. When building a pyramid, boats carried the stones up and down the river. Crops. Every year the Nile flooded around July 15th and a rich deposit of thick mud was left behind. This mud was good for growing crops. Entertainment. The Ancient Egyptians enjoyed the Nile River. Some of their favorite pastimes were fishing, river boat outings, swimming and hunting crocodiles and/or hippopotamus.
Paper. Papyrus is a plant that use to grow on the riverbank of the Nile. It was used mainly for production of papyrus paper. Water.The Ancient Egyptians lived near the Nile River so they had a large supply of drinking water.So as you see, water or Nile to ancient Egyptians gave almost everything they needed. That’s why it caused their religion, traditions, daily life and much more.
4.1.2 River EntertainmentEgyptians spent their spare time doing a wide variety of things, and many of these activities are shown on the tomb walls. Dramatizations were held in the temples, but the most important source of entertainment & relaxation was the Nile river. Activities on the river include fishing, river boat outings, swimming, hunting crocodiles and hippopotamuses, and boat games where two teams of men in boats with long poles, would try to push each other into the water.There is some information about these mentioned activities.
220.127.116.11 Traditional Water SportsRowingRowing was one of the sports that required most physical strength on the part of the ancient Egyptian. Plates recorded team-rowing in which the players depended on harmonizing their rowing according to the directives of their leader who held the rudder. The leader also controlled their movement through a high-pitched systematic call to unify the moment when oars touched the surface of the water and that helped to push the boat forward more steadily and swiftly – a method still being adopted in rowing nowadays.SwimmingSwimming was the favorite sport of the ancient Egyptians, who made use of the River Nile to practice it. The Nile was not the only place for swimming contests. Noblemen’s palaces had swimming pools in which princes learned the sport.The calm waters of the Nile encouraged youths to hold swimming competitions in which they could show their skills.
FishingFishing was one of the sports practiced by kings, princes and commoners. There are many drawings of scenes of fishing as a hobby on the Saqqara tombs of the Old Kingdom as much as there are on the New Kingdom monuments.The Egyptian Museum in Cairo comprises numerous kinds of fishing rods and hooks of various shapes, which indicate the advance of such a sport in ancient Egypt.Fishing in ancient Egypt was for sport as well as for food and trade. The Nile constituted most of the fishing area for the Egyptians with an ample amount of fish. The Egyptian diet being based heavily on grains, fish were an easy source of protein for the peasant class. Some species were considered to be better than other species, such as the Nile Perch and Eel as they were considered sacred to the Nile. Other species eaten by the Egyptians were catfish, carp, mullets, tilapia, elephant-snout fish, tiger fish, and moonfish. The fish would be cleaned and prepared by either pickling, roasting, drying, or by boiling.To catch the fish, Egyptians used nets, traps or pens, hooks and harpoons. The hooks were simple line and hook format (later using more conventional rod and line format) in which the hook was usually made from bone. The size of the hooks ranged from eight millimeters to eighteen centimeters. By the 12th Dynasty, metal hooks began to replace bone, and barb and barb-less hooks were used. The use of nets and corralling fish was also done. There were dangers to the fisherman, the Nile crocodile could easily take fish off the lines and also make a quick meal out of any fisherman than fell over board from the canoes.Fishing was a way for the Egyptians not only to get food but also to relax and enjoy a day by the river. Many tomb paintings show fisherman by the water catching fish and even lazily sitting in chairs by the river. Fish also played a role in temple offerings such as catfish at the temple of Amen.Ancient Egyptian fisherman and modern day anglers have much in common, even though the technology has gotten better, the methods have stayed relatively the same. Anglers still catch fish for food and sport, the local supermarket sells fish in many of the same ways Egyptians prepared their fish for the market. Fish were a food source, a part of the economy, and a pastime for many young and old.
4.1.3 Egyptian Mid-Day RitualEgyptians had a lot o rituals in their daily life here it is one example of it.Altar cloth color: Light Blue, because of its association with the sky during the daytime and its sacredness to Hwt-Hrw. Other necessary items include: two bowls of spring water (one for purification and one as a libation offering), oil lamp, incense, Natron, a symbol of Ma’at, an item of gold, fruit, sistrum, ritual broom.
Light the charcoal and place it in the burner.Hold up the bowl of spring water as you say:Oh water may you remove all evil, As Ra who bathes in the Lake of RushesMay Heru wash my flesh,May Djehuty cleanse my feet,May Shu lift me up and Nut take my hand.
Set the bowl of water aside and say:My Natron is the Natron of Heru, and the Natron of Heru is my Natron.My Natron is the Natron of Sutekh and Natron of Sutekh is my Natron.My Natron is the Natron of Djehuty, and the Natron of Djehuty is my Natron.My Natron is the Natron of Geb and the Natron of Geb is my Natron.My mouth is the mouth of the milking calf on the day that I was born.
Mix some Natron with the spring water. Then take the bowl of Natron and sprinkle this lightly as you walk four times around the ritual area.
Light the oil lampPerform the ritual gesture of Embracing the Earth while saying:Come, come in peace O glorious Eye of Heru, Be strong and renew your youth in peace.For the flame shines like Ra on the double horizon,I am pure, I am pure, I am pure, I am pure.
Put the incense on the burning charcoal in the burnerAssume the posture of Adoration (Dua) while saying:The fire is laid, the fire shines;The incense is laid on the fire, the incense shines.Your perfume comes to me, Oh incense;May my perfume come to you, Oh incense.Your perfume comes to me, Oh Neteru;May my perfume come to you, you Neteru.May I be with you, you Neteru;May you be with me, you Neteru.May I live with you, you Neteru;May you live with me, you Neteru.I love you, you Neteru;May you love me, you Neteru.
Invocation To Hwt-HrwAdd incense to the burnerAssume the posture of Invocation as you recite the following invocations:Make jubilation for Gold, and sweet pleasure for the Lady of the Two Lands.Great is her Majesty when she is propitiated.Adoration of Gold when she shines forth in the sky.To you belongs everything in the sky while Re is in it.To you belongs everything in the earth while Geb is in it.There is no Neter who does what you dislike when you appear in glory.
Invocation to RaAdd incense to the burner, say:Hail Ra in your beautiful crossing.I have seen you in the three forms which you take.I have adored you in the morning, In this your name of Khrpri.I have praised you at midday, In this your name of Ra.I have propitiated you in the evening, In this your name of Atum.It is your uraeus snake who has enchanted your enemies.Your uraeus snake surrounds you.
Offering to Ma’atTake the symbol of Ma’at and assume a posture of offering, say:Oh Ma’at, first and lastWe praise you, Mistress of AllWithout whom there could only be chaosThrough whom all is manifest.We, who breathe youWe, who exist in youWe, whose bodies are of youWe, whose thoughts flow through youHonor and glorify your name!May your power and dominionContinue without end.place the Ma’at symbol on the altar.
Offering Of LibationTake the spring water and hold it in a gesture of Offering, say:This Libation is for you, Oh GoldThis libation is for you, Hwt-Hrw.I have brought you this offering of water,That your heart may be refreshed.I have brought you this offering of water,Placing it at your feet.I present that which flows forth from You.That Your heart shall continue to beat.For it is with you that all comes forth at the sound of the voice.Place libation on the altar
AdorationHold the bowl of spring water in your left hand in front of your chest, say:Ra reaches his zenith in potency and strengthDip the tips of your fingers of your right hand into the water and sprinkle it before the altar.You, Oh Hwt-Hrw, dance before him.Again dip your finger tips and sprinkle the water before the altar.Lady of the Vulva, your beauty sings to his heart.A third time, dip your finger tips and sprinkle the water before the altarInsatiable, he lusts after you, toward his destiny.A forth time, dip your finger tips and sprinkle the water before the altarIt is you who calls and beckons, who inspires him forth.A fifth time, dip your finger tips and sprinkle the water before the altarOh Golden One, may your attraction continue for millions of years.(the water is sprinkled five times to symbolize the union of two, becoming, and three, creation becoming manifest. Together they represent power and energy.)Hold the bowl of sand in your left hand in front of your chest, say:Ra reaches his zenith in potency and strengthTake a little sand in yur fingers and sprinkle before the altarYou, Oh Hwt-Hrw, dance before him.Take a little sand in your fingers and sprinkle before the altarLady of the Vulva, your beauty sings to his heart.Take a little sand in your fingers and sprinkle before the altarInsatiable, he lusts after you, toward his destiny.Take a little sand in your fingers and sprinkle before the altarIt is you who calls and beckons, who inspires him forth. Take a little sand in your fingers and sprinkle before the altarOh Golden One, may your attraction continue for millions of years.(the sand is sprinkled five times to symbolize the union of two, becoming, and three, creation becoming manifest. Together they represent power and energy. Five plus five is ten, relating specifically to the comcepts of time and space, as well as measurement. It represents manifestation)
Move the offering table next to the altar
OfferingAdd incense to the burnerHold in your hand the food offering and assume a posture of offering,Offer in your cupped hand, an item of gold.Hwt-HrwFor You Ra traverses the sky, and so we live.For this I honor you with what comes from youReturning it, to be given again.Place the item of gold before the image.(gold symbolizes the devine, the sun and Ra, immortality, spirituality, the stars and heaven. In particular it came to be equated with Hwt-Hrw, and she as the personifiction of gold.)Offer in your cupped hands a piece of fruitHwt-HrwBecause of you the world is fertile, and so we live.For this I praise you with what comes from you,Returning it, to be given again.Place the piece of fruit before the image.(Fruit is to symbolize the power of the sun to create).Offer in your cupped hands the sistrum.Hwt-HrwThrough you the people are filled with pleasure and joy, and so we live.For this I exalt you with what comes from youReturning it, to be given again.Add incense to the burner. Play the sistrum rhythmically while you say:My body speaks, my lips repeatPure Ihy-music, for Hwt-Hrw.Music, millionsAnd hundreds and thousands of it,Because you love music,A million of music for your ka,< your all In>Tomb of Kheruef, pls 35-36(The sistrum is to symbolize the the non-material concepts of pleasure, joy (which humans desire) through equally non-material music (which is pleasing to Hwt-Hrw) Also the three offerings represent the unity of an integrated group, a system that is interactive among it’s parts.)Place the sistrum before the image.Add incense to the burner and proceed to a time of meditation.Extinguish the oil lamp, brush the area in front of the altar with your ritual broom as you back away.Say:Djehuty has come.He has delivered the Eye of Heru from the hand of his enemies.No evil shall enter this temple.Ptah has closed the door, Djehuty has set it fast.The door is closed, the door is set fast with the bolt.
4.2 Ancient Rome4.2.1 The Romanian baths!Most Romans didn’t have baths in their own homes. They went to large public bath houses. The baths were a place to get clean as well as a social center where Romans met friends to exercise and chat. Women and men went to separate baths or each had their own hours. The women’s time slot was apparently much shorter, so that women probably had to be more careful scheduling. Large baths had duplicate facilities. The bath complex was made up of several rooms. Some were for changing clothes, exercising, and a series of rooms with progressively hotter water. The final step in a Roman bath was a plunge into a cold bath or swimming pool! The Public Baths were extremely popular. Roman women and men tried to visit the baths at least once every day. The baths had hot and cold pools, towels, slaves to wait on you, steam rooms, saunas, exercise rooms, and hair cutting salons. They had reading rooms and libraries, as among the freeborn, who had the right to frequent baths, the majority could read. They even had stores, selling all kinds of things, and people who sold fast food. The baths were arranged rather like a very large mall, with bathing pools. The baths were packed. The people loved them. At one time, there were as many as 900 public baths in ancient Rome. Small ones held about 300 people, and the big ones held 1500 people or more! Some Roman hospitals even had their own bathhouses. A trip to the bath was a very important part of ancient Roman daily life. Could kids use the baths? No. Was there an admission charge to the baths? Yes. Could slaves use the baths? Properly, no. But the people who could, as a matter of course, brought their slave attendants with them. The rest part of this topic is about one example of Roman Baths.
LocationThe Roman Baths are in the centre of Bath City in the West of England. Bath is 100 miles (160km) west of London and 10 miles (16km) east of Bristol.
The Sacred SpringThe Sacred Spring lies at the very heart of the ancient monument. Water rises here at the rate of over a million litres a day and at a temperature of 460C. The Spring rises within the courtyard of the Temple of Sulis Minerva and water from it feeds the Roman baths. There is some slight evidence, an earthen bank projecting into the Spring, that suggests it was already a focal point for worship before the Roman Temple and baths were built. Roman engineers surrounded the Spring with an irregular stone chamber lined with lead. To provide a stable foundation for this they drove oak piles into the mud. At first this reservoir formed an open pool in a corner of the Temple courtyard but in the second century AD it was enclosed within a barrel vaulted building and columns and statue bases were placed in the Spring itself. Enclosing the Spring in a dimly lit building in this way and erecting statues and columns within it must have enhanced the aura of mystery that surrounded it. Offerings were thrown into the Spring throughout the Roman period.Eventually the vaulted building collapsed into the Spring itself. We do not know when this was, but it is likely to have been in the sixth or seventh century. The oak piles sunk into the mud two thousand years ago continue to provide a stable foundation for the Roman reservoir walls today.
The Roman Temple The Temple at Bath was built in a classical style and is unusual in Britain as only one other truly classical temple – the temple of Claudius at Colchester – is known. It dates to the later first century AD. The Bath Temple stood on a podium more than two metres above the surrounding courtyard. It was approached by a flight of steps. As one approached it there were four large, fluted Corinthian columns supporting a frieze and decorated pediment above. Behind the columns was a large door to the cella where the cult statue of the goddess was kept. This room would have been dimly lit without windows, with the only light coming through the doorway and from the Temple fire burning before the cult statue.In the later second century the Temple was modified by the addition of small side chapels and the construction of an ambulatory around it. This change moved away from the simple classical style as first built and turned the Temple into something more akin to other Romano – Celtic temples from Roman Britain. These changes coincided with the enclosure of the sacred Spring within a new building and may reflect a change in ritual practice at the site.The Temple remained a focal point for worship until late in the fourth century AD. As Christianity gathered strength the old pagan religion was marginalised and in 391 AD the Emperor Theodosius ordered the closure of pagan temples throughout the Empire. The Temple fell into a state of disrepair and eventually collapsed. Some of the carved stones from the pediment were re-used as paving slabs in the courtyard and their chance survival has helped us build a picture of one of Roman Britain’s most remarkable religious buildings.
The Temple Courtyard This was a place of worship and sacrifice where ceremonies took place around the great altar that formed a ritual focus in front of the Temple. The courtyard was the sacred space surrounding the temple building and was contained within a colonnaded perimeter wall. In one corner the Sacred Spring poured out a supply of hot water that was more than enough to serve the huge baths complex to the south.The original courtyard was encroached upon during Roman times. Small side chapels were built to either side of the Temple steps. The Spring was enclosed by a building that was supported by buttresses and an entranceway on the south side of the courtyard and another building, known as “the four seasons” from the decoration of its facade, was built on the north side of the courtyard. The space was cluttered with altars placed near the Temple by worshippers.As the Roman Temple declined in the later fourth century so did the quality of maintenance in the courtyard. Further encroachment took place and rather half hearted attempts at maintaining a paved surface were made in the fifth and probably sixth century. The area was subject to occasional flooding at this time, no doubt as a result of poorly maintained drainage for the Spring.
The Facade of the Four SeasonsThis unusual building is known from various sculptured stones found in the excavations that took place for the building of the Pump Room in 1790. A facade with carvings of the four seasons was surmounted by a decorated pediment containing an image of the goddess Luna. This facade probably looked south towards the entrance of the Spring over the doorway of which was a carving of the Sun god Sol. In this way the deities of the sun and moon opposed each other across the Temple courtyard and looked down upon the great central altar.The purpose of the building is unclear, but one interesting suggestion is that it may have been a place where worshippers might spend the night in the sacred courtyard in close proximity to the Temple of the goddess. Here they might have visions in their dreams.
The Bathing ComplexThe Roman bathing complex at Bath was completely out of proportion to the size of the Roman town here. Fed with naturally hot water from the Sacred Spring it was designed to cater to the needs not just of local people, but of people who travelled as pilgrims from across the Empire.The baths at Bath were unusual not just for their size, but also for the fact that they used so much hot water. Roman bathing did not normally use much hot water, as this was expensive to produce. Instead Roman bathing was based around the practice of moving through a series of heated rooms culminating in a cold plunge at the end. This sequence might include an opportunity to luxuriate in a hot tub or a small bath of hot water in the caldarium, but it did not involve swimming around in a great hot swimming pool such as that provided at Bath.
The Great BathThe Great Bath was the centre piece of the Roman bathing establishment. It was fed with hot water directly from the Sacred Spring and provided an opportunity to enjoy a luxurious warm swim. The bath is lined with 45 thick sheets of lead and is 1.6 metres deep. Access is by four steep steps that entirely surround the bath. On the centre of the north side there was originally a fountain feature fed by its own lead pipe from the Sacred Spring. At some point this was replaced with a smaller and rather curious fountain which is made from a re-used funerary monument with a hole cut through it to allow the passage of a pipe.A large flat slab of stone is set across the point where hot water flows into the bath. It is known today as the diving stone and this may have been its original purpose. The bath was originally roofed with a pitched timber construction, but this was replaced in the second century with a much heavier ceramic vault that required strengthened pillars to support it. The result was that the original slender pillars were thickened and projected into the bath itself. No doubt the original architect would have been horrified!
The East Baths The eastern range of the bath house contained a large tepid bath fed by water that flowed through a pipe from the Great Bath. A series of heated rooms were developed here which became progressively larger until the site reached it maximum extent in the fourth century AD. As part of the presentation of the site today, decorated walls have been suspended over the line of surviving wall foundations from the fourth century AD. This gives visitors an impression of the enormous size of some of the rooms in this bath house.
The West BathsThe western range of the bath house contained a series of heated rooms and plunge pools. The development of suites of heated rooms at both the western and eastern ends of the site may have allowed simultaneous use of the site by both men and women, but maintained a seemly separation of facilities for them. The West Baths contains an exceptionally well preserved set of pilae which were piles of tiles through which hot air circulated to heat the floor and walls of the room above.
The Laconicum An unusual feature of the Roman Baths is this special heated room known as a laconicum. It was a small room of intense dry heat, although it could have been turned into a steam room by splashing water about. Either way you would have quickly broken out in a profuse sweat if you stayed here for more than a minute or two. You would then be ready to receive treatment with oil and a strigil to make you invigoratingly clean!
The Circular Bath A cold plunge bath was a feature of many Roman bath houses, but rarely on this scale! Here you could take an invigorating plunge after treatments in the warm and hot rooms – but you probably would not linger! The bath is 1.6 metres deep and on one side has an underwater plinth on which a water feature, probably a fountain, once stood.
The Spring Overflow This is the point at which hot water that was not required for use in the bathing establishment flowed from the Spring into the great Roman drain. From there it was carried to the River Avon a few hundred metres away. The water flows through a sluice that could be regulated to completely drain the Sacred Spring and give access to the reservoir chamber for maintenance. The same system devised by Roman engineers continues in use today, nearly two thousand years after it was first built.
The Roman Drain The great Roman drain carries water from the Spring and the Great Bath to the River Avon. It is large enough to walk down and still performs its original purpose. Beyond the point shown in this photograph it is joined by a channel that drains the eastern range of the baths. It was lined originally with wooden boards and they are still there! Some important finds have been made in the drain including a group of 34 gemstones and a mysterious tin mask.
The King’s BathThe King’s Bath was built, using the lower walls of the Roman Spring building as foundations, in the 12th century. The bath provided niches for bathers to sit in, immersed up to their necks in water. On the south side of the bath is a seat beneath the waterline, known as the Master of the Baths chair, that was donated in the 17th century. Although modified and encroached upon by the building of the Grand Pump Room in the 18th century and subsequent 19th century developments the King’s Bath continued in use for curative bathing until the middle of the 20th century. The bath is overlooked by a statue of King Bladud, the mythical discoverer of the hot waters and founder of the City of Bath.
4.2.2 The Wedding CeremonyAs with Greek marriages, an actual wedding ceremony was not needed to legalize a marriage. A couple could live together and have adfectus maritalis, in order for a marriage to be valid. For most aristocratic Roman couples, however, the ceremony was a visible-and practical-rite.Like the Greek bride, the Roman bride needed to renounce her childhood before she could properly prepare for her life as wife and mother. To do this, she began by surrendering her childhood toys and toga praetexta. The bride’s hairstyle was unique to brides, called tutulus. It was divided into sex crines, six locks, and was fastened with vittae, fillets, on the top of her head in a meta, cone. Her hair was parted with a hasta recurva or hasta caelibaris, bent iron spearhead. It is not really known why this ritual was practiced, except that the Romans may have believed that this would drive out the evil spirits thought to be living in the hair.The bride’s attire, like that of today, was special and worn only once. Her flammeum, flame colored veil, was probably the most symbolic thing she wore:It continued as one of the main symbols and components of the wedding ceremony, routinely mentioned by many authors. Indeed, the verb used of the woman marrying, nubo, is related to nubes, a cloud, and means literally ‘I veil myself’. From this come nupta, a married woman, nova nupta, a bride, and nuptiae, the wedding. The event turns on the bride and her veiling.The veil was oblong, transparent and matched her lutei socci, shoes. The veil left her face uncovered. She also wore an amaracus wreath. Her gown consisted of a tunica recta, a white flannel or muslim tunic that had been made on an old-fashioned upright loom, and a cingulum, girdle. There was a knot at the waist of her dress to avert ill fortune. The first part of the ceremony took place at the house of the bride’s paterfamilias. The bride’s parents would, of course, watch for omens and if all looked well, they would hand over the bride to the groom. There would be some verbal exchange to the effect of “Ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia,” “Where you are Gaius, I am Gaia.” The ceremony could take place even if the groom was not able to be present. In that event, he would send a letter with his part of the verbal exchange. The pronuba, matron of honor, would then join the couple’s hands. The new couple would offer up a sacrifice, usually a pig. The tabulae nuptiales, marriage contract, which had been drawn up beforehand, would be presented by the auspex, who was both priest and best man, and then the contract would be signed by the required number of witnesses. The cena, wedding breakfast, paid for by the groom, was eaten; gifts were given; and preparations for the procession were made.The deductio in domum mariti or pompa, procession, moved from the bride’s home to the groom’s home, like the Greek wedding procession. First, the couple and guests would enact the scene of the seizure of the Sabines: the bride would clutch her mother’s arms, but be ripped away by the groom. Three boys with both parents living, patrimi et matrimi, escorted the bride while the other guests shouted “Talasio”, “hymen hymenaee”, and other obscenities and jokes. One of these boys would carry a spina alba, a special wooded torch lit from the bride’s hearth. Walnuts were thrown, symbolizing the hoped-for fertility of the bride. The bride or her attendant would carry a spindle and distaff, again symbolizing her role as weaving wife. The groom took part in singing the Fescennine verses and lighting the torches. Since the groom had to be at his house before the bride arrived in order to greet her there, the procession itself split. The separate processions form a procedure called the uxorem ducere/deducere.When the procession arrived at the groom’s house, the torches were traditionally thrown away. Next, the bride rubbed the doorway with fat and oil and wreathed it with wool, reinforcing her role as domestic wife. She then crossed the threshold very carefully or was even carried over in some instances since it was unlucky to step on it or trip on her way into her new house. “Ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia” might have been uttered at this point if not before. The bride touched water and fire, aquae et ignis communicatio, elements that were essential to life through cooking and washing. There was a lavishly decorated mini-marriage bed in the hallway for the couple’s spirits: the husband’s genius and the wife’s juno. Epithalamia were sung at this point to encourage the couple to consummate the marriage.As marriage was a basis for the procreation of children, it would follow that consummation and the first sexual union of the new couple would be an important part of the ceremony. The marriage chamber was decorated with symbols of fertility, such as flowers, greenery, and fruit. As mentioned above, the lectus genialis, a miniature wedding bed, was in the hallway of the main part of the house for the couple’s spirits. The marriage bed itself, the torus genialis, was where the couple normally slept and made love. The bride’s parents handed their daughter over to her husband’s manus for the final time. The pronuba led the bride into the bedroom. Playing an important role in the entire wedding ceremony, this woman was “a married woman who had only been married once and whose husband was alive-the incarnation of the faithful wife and thus auspicious-in pointing out the bride’s duty.” Throughout the preparations and ceremony itself she was responsible for encouraging and guiding the bride. She was also a leader in wishing the couple perpetual harmony. Having led the bride into the bedroom, the pronuba prayed with her for a blessing on the marriage, helped her undress and remove her jewelry and then put her into the bed. Only then would the groom enter, either alone or escorted by others. The pronuba would offer a sacrifice and then leave. For the first time that day, and maybe ever, the couple was alone, though the revelry would continue outside the room.Before consummating the marriage, the couple would play act: the bride would pretend to be reluctant; the groom would try to conciliate her by calling her his “wife”; the bride would continue to weep and maybe turn away, but then call him “husband” and speak to him with loving words. The groom would then untie the complicated knot at the waist of his wife’s girdle. While consummation was not actually necessary for a Roman marriage to be legal, it was expected to happen on the wedding night because of the Roman emphasis of bearing children in marriages. This first sexual union was also considered a foedus lecti, contract of fidelity, between husband and wife. The next morning, the bride emerged from the bedroom a matrona. She was part of a new family now and would take part in their religious cult. Later that day, there would be a repotia, dinner and drinking party.
4.2.3 A Couple Of Other FactsThere are not much information about these facts, but from my point of wiew they are intresting.The Colosseum was a huge public entertainment center. The Colosseum could seat 45,000 spectators! This is where the ancient Romans gathered to watch bloody combat between gladiators, and battles between men and wild animals. This is where they threw people to the lions! To see men being killed was very entertaining to the ancient Romans. On occasion, they flooded the Colosseum with water, to hold naval battles, where many competitors died! In the new excavations there is one house with an outdoor dining-room. The Romans reclined at dinner on three couches, so arranged around a serving-stand as to leave one end open for slaves to come and go’ ln this particular outdoor dining room, a series of pierced pipes flung a cooling spray of water over the guests as they ate.
4.3 China4.3.1 Ancient Customs and Games in ChinaThere was a drinking game in ancient China called “vessels floating along a winding stream,” which originated from a custom. The game is as follows: all drinkers sit by a winding stream. A wine vessel is placed upstream, and then will float downstream. When it stops before someone, he or she must take it and drink the wine. Sometimes, when a heavier pottery vessel is used, it is placed on a lotus leaf, which enables it to float. The most famous game was played by Wang Xizhi, a famous scholar of the Jin Dynasty, and his friends at the Orchid Pavilion. On the third day of the third month in 53 AD, Wang Xizhi invited scores of his friends to get together to drink wine and compose poems. They sat by the Qingxi Stream and put a wine-filled vessel on the water. The vessel floated along the stream, occasionally knocking some pebbles. When it stopped in front of someone, the person would compose a poem and drink the wine. Those who failed to think of a poem would have to drink more as a penalty. In this game, 11 people each composed two poems, 15 people each composed one, and 16 people composed no poem and each drank three vessels of wine as punishment. Later, Wang Xizhi compiled the poems into a collection, which is the famous Orchid Pavilion Collection. This game gradually became popular among common people as entertainment at their wine parties. According to Zong Lin’s A Record of Seasonal Occasions in Hunan and Hubei,”On the third day of the third month, gentry and common people all flock to the banks of rivers and ponds and play the game of ‘vessels floating along a stream.'”Why should this game be held on the third day of the third month? This involves an ancient custom. In ancient times, this day was called “shangsi,” a day when people prayed to gods to ward off calamities and send down blessings. The ancient people had an important ritual, “fu xi.” “Fu” means exorcizing evil, and “xi” means purgation. Specifically, “fu xi” means bathing in a clean river to get rid of foul smells. This custom was prevalent as early as the pre-Qin times. “When the Zhen and Wei Rivers are at seasonal flood,/ Men and women come with bamboo strips in hand.” These lines are from the poem “Zhen and Wei Rivers — A Song of State of Zheng,” from “Songs of States” in the Book of Songs. The poem vividly describes how people gathered by the Zhen and Wei rivers in the third month of every year, when peach blossoms were blooming and the rivers flooding. They called up the spirits of the dead, some holding fragrant thoroughwort to exorcize inauspicious things. In the Han Dynasty, the third day of the third month became a regular festival, when the gentry, common people, and even the imperial family, went to bathe in rivers or lakes. Afterwards, people took this opportunity to enjoy themselves by drinking wine and floating wine vessels on water — hence, the gameIn ancient times, on the seventh day of the seventh month, women usually played needle-threading and needle-floating games. These also came from customs. During the Yuan Dynasty, on the seventh day of the seventh month, maids in the imperial palace played the game of threading a nine-hole needle. They climbed onto an elevation and competed in threading a nine-hole needle with colored silk threads. The fastest won the game and “gained dexterity.” In the Ming and Qing dynasties, games of needle- throwing and needle-floating were popular among women. On the sixth day of the seventh month, they put a bowl of clear water in the sunlight. On the morning of the seventh day, they dropped the needles they used every day into the water. The needles floated on the water surface, their shadows cast at the bottom of the bowl. The shapes of the shadows would be different: some were like blooming flowers; some, like floating clouds; some, like thin threads; and some, like awls. These shapes were believed to indicate the owners’ degree of cleverness. These needle games, played on the seventh day of the seventh month, were derived from the custom of “praying for dexterity” in ancient China. The custom, in turn, came from a folk tale about the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid. The Weaving Maid was a granddaughter of the God of Heaven. Since life in Heaven was not to her liking, she descended to the earthly world and married the Cowherd. But later they were forced apart by Lady Queen Mother, and could only see each other once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. According to the folk tale, the Weaving Maid was a dexterous, industrious woman, so she was worshipped by women. On the evening of the seventh day of the seventh month, women would thread needles in the moonlight, praying for cleverness. This custom was recorded in A Record of Seasonal Occasions in Hunan and Hubei by Zong Lin of the Southern Dynasties: “On the seventh day of the seventh month, women plait colored silk threads and thread seven-hole needles, or set out gold, silver and copper needles, together with fruit in the courtyard to pray for dexterity.” This proves that the custom was popular as early as the Southern Dynasties. At first, women did so in the hopes that they would do needlework as excellently as the Weaving Maid. Later, with its practical side gradually fading, the custom evolved into entertainment.
Besides religious customs, other customs are also the sources of games. For instance, a game, “picking sweet dumplings,” in rural northern China, originated from a traditional eating custom. Players of this game were generally young. They would set a large wok on the ground, in which big, sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice were being boiled. A large bowl would be placed three meters away from the wok. The player would pick up a dumpling from the boiling water with a bamboo fork and put it into the bowl. Those who successfully put a certain number of sweet dumplings into the bowl within a fixed time won the game. And those who failed to pick up a dumpling or made mistakes while delivering them would be out of the game. The loser would pay for the sweet dumplings. This game originated from the tradition of selling sweet dumplings during the Spring Festival in northern China. In the past, during that time, many peddlars sold sweet dumplings in the streets. At one end of his shoulder pole was a wok, in which the sweet dumplings were being boiled, and at the other end were bowls and a fork. When there was a buyer, the peddlar would pick up the sweet dumplings with the fork and put them into a bowl. This eventually evolved into a game.
4.3.2 Customs Of PregnancyAncient Chinese myths and customs of pregnancy start shortly after a couple weds. According to Chinese custom, a husband should carry his bride over a pan of burning coals when entering his home for the first time to ensure she will pass through labor successfully.
Once pregnant, a woman guards her thoughts. It is believed everything she does and sees will influence her unborn child. According to old Chinese tradition, what affects a woman’s mind will also affect her heart and connect with the baby in utero. A pregnant woman reads good poetry — she doesn’t gossip, laugh loudly, sit on a crooked mat, look at clashing colors, or lose her temper. Many Chinese women will read beautiful stories before drifting off to sleep. And, sex is forbidden during pregnancy.
There are many ancient taboos regarding the food Chinese women eat during pregnancy. It’s believed that if a pregnant woman eats food that’s not properly cut or mashed, her child will have a careless disposition. Or if she eats light colored foods, the baby will be fair-skinned. Many also believe that no construction work should be done in the house of a pregnant women. Hammering and sawing could lead to an abortion or fetal deformities. And, pregnant women should never attend funerals. To scare away evil sprits, Chinese women may sleep with knives under their bed. Often a piece of paper cut to resemble a pair of scissors is hung from bed curtains and tiger skins are hung over the bed.
Many believe it is unlucky to throw a shower for an unborn baby. In China, the parties come after the little one arrives. The expectant mother’s own mother buys the child’s entire layette. A month before the baby is due, the maternal grandmother sends a package of clothing for her expectant daughter called tsue shen, or hastening the delivery. There is a white cloth inside the package with which to wrap the newborn. The maternal grandmother waits three days after the baby arrives before she visits the newborn bringing all her clothes and baby equipment. Chinese women will often drink a strong herbal potion to ease the strain of labor. Custom dictates that women not fear the laboring process, since birth is considered a women’s career to the ancient Chinese. Chinese women traditionally labor in an armchair or futon. Once the baby is born they will often pray to the goddess who helped them conceive with an offering of sweet meats and incense.
The Chinese ZodiacWhen a child is born is also important to Chinese custom. The hour, day, month and year the baby is born dictate which of the Eight Characters he is born under. The Eight Characters are considered so important they will rule the child’s life. They foretell if a child will be successful, wealthy, or blessed with good fortune. Parents may also hire fortune tellers or soothsayers to read their baby’s fortune. The Chinese believe that each person is made up of some of the five elements – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. If a fortune teller finds a child is lacking an important element, the missing element is incorporated in her name — unless the missing element is fire or water. If water or fire is absent, that is considered a good omen. It is believed that a child with too much fire could be injured by fire in his life; a child with too much water needs to be watched, for she might drown.
The First One Hundred Days
In the first 100 days of a child’s life there are at least five events celebrating her life. On the morning of the third day, a Chinese baby gets her first bath. The midwife officiates this ceremony which is attended by female friends and relatives. The midwife sits with the mother on her bed surrounded by a straw sieve, a mirror, a padlock, an onion, a comb and a weight. An offering of incense to the god and goddess of the bed burns nearby. The baby is bathed in hot water boiled with locust branches and artemis plants. There is red silk and a string of cash fastened around the tub. Guests place a piece of fruit or colored egg into the water. Each guest places a spoonful of cool water in the basin and gives a small gift of silver to the baby. The baby’s biggest celebration is at one month when the mother’s allowed out of her room. Family and friends dine and celebrate all night. Money is given in bright red envelopes and the baby wears a silver or gold padlock around his neck locking the child to this world. On the hundredth day some Chinese families host another celebration. Friends and family bring fish and chicken to the child’s home. When the chicken is cooked, the tongue is rubbed on the baby’s lips to make the child a good talker. And the baby’s paternal grandfather may present the baby with a rocking chair. Traditionally, the child’s first birthday is also celebrated with a large feast and offerings to the gods and goddesses. Parents also place a variety of objects in a basket — a pen, silver, official seal, needlework and some toys — and offer the basket to the child. The object the baby grabs signifies the child’s future. The traditional first-birthday gift is a gold ring meant to protect the baby during harsh times. A long bread, yu char kuei, is given to the child for the first time. It is believed it will help him learn how to walk. The day he walks, a relative walks behind him with a knife drawing three lines on the ground. The Chinese believe there are invisible bindings around a child’s ankles binding him to a previous life. With the bindings cut, the child walks freely forever.
4.3.3 The Customs Of Tajik People The Tajik people mostly live in southwestern part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and are closely related to the Uygur people of that area. They have their own spoken language, but no written language.The Tajiks practice monogamy and large families spanning several generations live under one roof. To Tajiks, breaking up the family and living apart is unthinkable, and such a separation would be considered a major disaster.Their houses retain a tradition suited to their lifestyle. Generally, a family of three or four generations lives in one house. In the past, they would have lived in one big room, sleeping on long beds along two of the walls. But now, only Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County still keeps this tradition. Tajiks in other areas now have separate rooms for smaller family units within the bigger family.The garments of Tajiks are mainly cotton-padded. There is no obvious difference in the four seasons of a year. This has something to do with the cold climate of the Pamir Plateau. Women wear clothes with bright colors, and favor long skirts. They mostly wear floral caps embroidered with brightly-colored patterns and with ear flaps. When going outdoors, they wear kerchiefs, older women wearing white, while younger ones wear yellow or green.The men’s caps are like barrels, lined with black lamb skin. The lower brim rolls up, revealing lined fur, which is both decorative and practical.Tajiks living on the plateau have their special wedding ceremonies. To most ethnic groups, the wedding ceremony starts with the bride and bridegroom, but the wedding of the Tajiks are different. On the first day of the ceremony, the bride and the bridegroom proclaim their marriage and hold separate banquets with their own families lasting three days.On the fifth day, the bridegroom, accompanied by friends and relatives, goes to his bride’s home. An imam stands before the newlyweds to ask for their opinions. If both agree, they must drink a cup of water, and eat a bit of meat, cake and salt. Only then are they allowed to be together.After that, the grand celebration begins. People sing and dance until midnight. Then, the newlyweds ride on the same horse to the bridegroom’s home. On the sixth day, the family members of the bride spend one night at the bridegroom’s home. That marks the end of the wedding.
4.4 The Customs of the Thousand Lakes ProvinceHubei Province is so named because of its geographical position north of Dongting Lake (hu means lake and bei means north). In ancient times, this area was a wide expanse of marshland.Afterwards the Jianghan Plain with an area of 30,000 square kilometres was silted up by the water with mud from the Yangtze and Hanshui rivers. In this area, there are more than 1,000 lakes, hence Hubei Province is called the Thousand Lakes Province.Nanzui Village in Miaoyang County juts out into the Paihu Lake. More than 20 farm houses have been built on a platform, only one metre higher than the water surface of the lake. The local people said that in the past when it rained several days continuously, the village would be submerged. When the Yangtze and Hanshui rivers flooded this area, it became a vast expanse of water. When the flood came the villagers would move their furniture and some other things up to the attic and then they left for other places taking with them food and clothing. Some people went fishing; some sought refuge with their relatives and friends; and some wandered to other places to sing for a living. They went back to their home till the flood went away.They had to build straw sheds to live in. Sometime later, inspired by the arches of bridges “water gate houses” were created which means that when a house is built, a hole one metre high and one metre wide is left from the base of the back wall. When the construction of the house has been finished the hole is filled in with bricks. So when floods come the bricks are moved away and the water flows out through the hole. In this way the wall of the houses can be protected from the force of the flood. When the flood recedes the hole is filled again. Some houses have undergone floods dozens of times, but they are still in good shape.Fishing boats were scattered all over the lakes and some fishermen standing on the front of the boats were casting nets and some others were catching fish with lampshade-shaped nets. The local people used different ways to catch fish and they have about 20 kinds of fishing nets. The biggest net is several hundred or sometimes nearly 1,000 square metres. It is lifted by a winch.What interested me most was the trap made for the fish by the fishmen. The fishmen put tree stumps in the lakes and then fenced them in with a net. When fish go into the trap they cannot get out. Finally they have to swim into a bag at the end of the net.There is a saying in this area, “The fish is the son of the Dragon King. Everyone can fish no matter who he is.” so it has become an unwritten law that people can fish around lakes and rivers. But at the end of spring, fishing is forbidden because that is the time for fish to spawn. In addition, if several fishermen are fishing with the lampshade-shaped net at the same time, the one who sees the fish first should cast his net first. If he cannot catch the fish, the others can cast their nets. Otherwise the person who rushes to cast the net would be condemned by other fishermen and the fish he catches would be sent back to the person who saw the fish first.Fishermen are loyal to their friends. When they meet in the lakes on their fishing trips, whether they know each other or not they are friendly. After fishing they put their boats together and then go to eat and drink on one boat. The host of the boat cools the food for them. They often put rice, vegetables, condiments, fish and meat into one pot. The meat is fat, but not greasy. The oil of the meat goes to the fish, which makes the fish fresh and delicious. And the juice from the fish permeates the vegetables and rice,which gives them a special taste.The lakes abound with lotuses. In early summer, the new lotuses bud and come out of the water, so the green water is dotted with white and pink flowers.The history of the lotus in China can be traced back to very ancient times. Two lotus seeds were found together with a pot of carbonized grain in 1972 in the ruins of the New Stone Age, near Zhengzhou in Henan Province. These relics are more than 5,000 years old. These lotuses are uncultivated and they grow every year. Lotus seed picking areas are divided by the villages along the lakes and villagers built watch towers to survey the lotuses. Early autumn is the time to pick lotus seeds. The date for picking lotus seeds has to be decided by villagers and at the same time they donate money to buy pork because they will get together to eat on that morning. After eating they will go down to the lakes. The boats rowed by the men are in a line. Women cut the seedpod of the lotus seeds, and the old people break the pods with bamboo slips to take the seeds out.When the sun sets, the villagers will call it a day and go to the watchtowers. They put the lotus seeds together and then distribute them to each household. After going back home, they are busy shelling and drying the lotus seeds.In early winter when the water is low, people begin to dig lotus roots. Whoever wants to dig the lotus seeds can go. It is a hard job to get the roots out of the mud. Lotuses usually grow in mud about one metre deep. So people have to stand in the mud, which makes it hard to move.The peasants have experience in digging lotuses. When they pick lotuses, they go to the places where there are old lotus leaves, so they can find big ones there. Sometimes they pick up lotuses which are not too deep in the mud. For the deep ones they have to tramp the mud on one side and then the root of the lotus will come out more easily.
4.5.1 Ancient Greek MarriageBy examining some general facts about Greek brides about which scholars today agree, we can place the wedding ceremony in its context of Greek life and ritual. A Greek girl married young, around 14. Marriage at such a young age was presumed to guarantee virginity, which, until marriage, was thought to be threatened by her lustful youth. A young man, on the other hand, usually performed his military service before getting married, with the result that he was about 30 when he first married. Furthermore, the girl was obliged to marry whomever her kyrios, male guardian, decided upon. In choosing a prospective husband, the kyrios would have considered political and economic factors. Finally, marriage to a family member was an acceptable alternative and occasionally encouraged in order to consolidate family wealth.
The Wedding CeremonyFor a young girl, marriage rites marked three phases: separation from her oikos , transition to a new home, and integration into her new roles as daughter and wife within a new oikos. She changed from a parthenos, a maiden, to a nymphe, a married woman without children, when she married and then finally to a gyne, an adult woman, when she bore her first child. The entire set of marriage rites focused on the bride and her relocation to a new oikos and kyrios, the most important transition in her life.As mentioned, a typical marriage consisted of engue and ekdosis. The ceremony itself was marked by the physical transfer, the ekdosis, of the bride to her new oikos . The ekdosis was a process that took several days, affected much of the community and affirmed new relationships both inside and outside her former oikos . For the bride, ekdosis signified a farewell to her maidenhood and at the same time an integration into her new household. The wedding ceremony usually lasted three days. The day before the wedding was designated the proaulia. In preparation for the proaulia, the bride would spend a final few days with her mother and female relatives, friends and servants preparing for her wedding at her father’s house. This pre-wedding ritual is one of the few events in which women were allowed to participate and celebrate actively. Once the proaulia arrived, a ceremony and feast would be held at the house of the bride’s father. The bride would make various offerings, proteleia to different gods; the offerings would generally include her childhood clothing and toys. This act served two purposes for the bride. It signified the separation of the bride from her childhood, freeing her to enter a new life; and it established a bond between her and the deities who she hoped would provide protection for her during the transition to her new life. Sacrifices to Artemis, goddess of virginity and of transition, would likely include locks of hair and zemia, a fine or penalty, in the hope that she would ease the bride’s passage from virginity. On occasion the bride would sacrifice to Hera as the exemplar of the divine bride. The bride and groom would both make offerings to Aphrodite for a fruitful, child-rearing life. If the bride or groom was unable for some reason to make the proteleia, the bride’s father or, in some instances, her mother would perform the ritual instead. The wedding ceremony’s focus on the bride’s passage to marriage and her sexual initiation is apparent in the rites performed on the proaulia, and it will continue to become clarified during the following two days.The gamos, the actual wedding day, began with a loutron numphikon, a nuptial bath, in the women’s quarters. Water was drawn from a river or spring and carried in a loutrophoros, a vase shapereserved for funerary purposes, … used mainly as a grave marker. During the fifth century its purpose seems to have been confined to ritual uses, such as weddings (where it was frequently used to carry the water for the bridal bath) or the funeral of an unmarried person. Vases of this shape are commonly decorated with scenes of mourners or wedding processions. A specially appointed child carried the bath water, which was thought to provide a purification of the bride as well as to induce fertility, showing that the bride and her sexual initiation were the focus of this aspect of the ceremony. The bride would then dress in the same room in which she bathed. The most important part of the bride’s costume was the veil, which symbolized her virginity and was not removed until she was handed over to the groom. The bride would have a numpheutria, a bridal helper, who, with the bride’s mother and other women, would preside over the preparations for the meal and sacrifices, and who would accompany the bride to the banquet hall. There, sacrifices would be offered to the gods of marriage by both the bride and groom.The wedding feast would follow, although the actual time for the feast is not clear. Most often the feast would be given by the bride’s father, but it could also be given by the groom’s father or even the groom himself in certain situations. Regardless, both families would attend. Guests at the feast would include the couple’s friends, who would serve as witnesses. The François vase, for instance, depicting the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, shows them accompanied by many of their fellow gods, who act as witnesses. While this was one of the few public events women were permitted to attend, men and women sat at different tables. Delicacies, such as sesame seeds mixed with honey, would be available. Entertainment would be provided by professional singers. The songs played a very important role in the ceremony, encouraging the couple in their new relationship and future children as well as complimenting the couple through comparisons with the gods. A libation was offered at the beginning of the songs.Towards the end of the feast in the evening came the most important part of the ceremony, the anakalupteria, the unveiling of the bride. This act is significant because the bride is handed over to the groom, and at this point she has completely given up her status as parthenos. There is some debate on exactly when this part of the ceremony took place. Some have argued that it did not occur until the couple had arrived at the groom’s house. The bride was then presented to the groom as she prepared to leave her paternal home.The procession from the bride’s house to her new home then began. An amphithales, a child with both parents still alive, was chosen to escort the bride. He represented prosperity and good luck for the couple, and symbolized their eventual child. The amphithales would distribute bread to the guests; the bread was another symbol of the final product of this union, a child; furthermore, the basket in which the bread was carried represented the ancient baby cradle. The amphithales would also utter the words “I fled worse and found better,” and he wore a crown of thorns and nuts, reminding the couple of the threatening proximity of wild nature, as the acorn was the food of primitive man while the winnowing fan or basket suggested implements of civilized agriculture.Other objects featured in the ceremony and enhanced the new role of the bride to advance civilized life: a grill for toasting barley; a sieve carried by a child; a pestle that hung in front of the wedding chamber; and various grains, recalling Demeter, the link between agriculture, fertility and social life.The procession itself began with the painful ritual departure, a drama of the pain the bride felt leaving her family. The groom grabbed her wrist while the bride’s father delivered her to her husband’s control, saying “in front of witnesses I give this girl to you for the production of legitimate children.” After this, the bride was treated as a symbolic captive, and to her the procession reflected a crisis that needed to be endured and overcome, as it was her final transition from childhood to marriage.Our main evidence for wedding processions is depictions on vases. The vase Bloomington 72.97.4 is decorated with a procession that is quite possibly of a wedding:The procession on either side crowds around and between two quadrigas whose horses stand among the file of participants. Each side is organized in a slightly different fashion, however. Side A: shows a woman who unveils herself in the very center of the composition, framed symmetrically by four participants who look at her. Homer also describes a procession in a scene on the shield of Achilles:Therein fashioned he also two cities of mortal men exceeding fair. In the one there were marriages and feastings, and by the light of the blazing torches they were leading the brides from their bowers through the city, and loud rose the bridal song. And young men were whirling in the dance, and in their midst  flutes and lyres sounded continually; and there the women stood each before her door and marvelled. She was accompanied by her husband and his friend in a cart. If the anakalupteria had not taken place yet, the bride would still be veiled. Her mother would be the one to carry the torches, daidouxein, in a protective role. The torches and music were intended to ward off evil spirits that might harm the bride during the procession.The honored participants in the procession included the amphithales; the proegetes, leader of the procession; paides propempontes, young boys; the paroxos or paranumphos, the groom’s attendant; and the numpheutria and other friends. Sometimes an entire town would join. Women with baskets and vases would also accompany the procession. In these baskets and vases were such items as sandals, quinces, roses, violets and fruits. These things would then be thrown at the couple, so that the procession resembled a fullobolia, victory procession. Avagianou explains that this “perhaps had an aggressive purpose, although we cannot ignore the sexual content attributed to apples and flowers by the ancient Greeks.” Men with musical instruments in the procession would provide the music for thehymenaioi, songs, that celebrated the couple and especially the bride’s contribution to the union. The wedding procession has parallels with other rituals. It is similar to the triumphant homecoming of victors at the Panhellenic games. The wedding carries the same significance for the bride that the victory does for the victor. As mentioned above, the pelting of the bride with flowers and fruits parallels the fullobolia of the victory procession.When the couple reached the groom’s house, a paian cry arose celebrating the successful end of the vulnerable passage. The groom then lifted the bride from the chariot, and his mother, holding torches, welcomed her daughter-in-law to her new home. The bride was then received with ritual kataxusmata, a sequence of rites performed to guarantee the future prosperity and fertility of the union and to establish the bride in her new home. The bride would eat a quince and burn the chariot axle, thereby precluding a journey back to her former home; she would be welcomed to the hearth (the center of the household); and, finally, the bride received tragmata, dried dates, nuts, and figs, thus completing the same ritual a new slave went through to make the final break with her old household. If it had not happened before, the anakalupteria happened now as well.As the couple entered the bridal chamber itself, they passed to the protection of Aphrodite and Peitho, who would bring harmony and pleasure in the bedroom and ultimately children. While the chamber was still being prepared, the wedding guests could enter the room, but finally the door would shut and remain guarded throughout the night by the thyroros, a friend of the groom. Friends of the bride sang outside the room to reassure the bride as she journeyed to womanhood and to encourage the couple in their attempts to produce a boy baby. They would also beat on the chamber door, ktupia, to scare away the spirits of the underworld. They might also sing playful, even obscene, songs and jokes.The final day of the wedding ceremony was called the epaulia. The day began with waking songs by the Pannuxis, the maidens awake all night, and certain men who returned to wake the couple. The focus was still on the bride, as she received the epaulia, or gifts. Again the ceremony was accompanied by songs that emphasized the transition of the bride to her new status.As initiating ceremonies, weddings and funerals share many similarities, as already noted in respect to the significance of the loutrophoros. Such tangible elements as preparing baths, torches, water for purification, the veil, and garlands play roles in both ceremonies. Redfield emphasizes especially how cutting the locks of hair features in both rituals: In the funeral, the mourners cut a lock of hair and leave it to be buried with the dead; they thus enact their bereavement by sending a part of their life to die with the dead. Before the wedding, brides often dedicated a lock of hair; they thus left behind them a part of their life as they set off to a new life. Moreover, both journeys are made at night by a cart with a ritual wheel drawn by mules, accompanied by flutes and choral songs and both ceremonies also include a feast. Both rituals signify a separation and a change of residence. These two ceremonies are so intertwined that if a girl died before she married, she was buried in a wedding dress so she could be the bride of Hades.Of course, weddings, as rituals, resemble religious ceremonies in general. Several of the terms used in the wedding ceremony recall those associated with religious festivals. For instance, telos, an end, recalls the Eleusian mysteries, and telein, to end, is a characteristic term for mysteries of initiation. Rites of passage are fundamentally alike: there is a formal transition for the initiate to a new stage of life, there is a division of participants such as men/women, maidens/married women, and couple/society. In human weddings, the couple is made to parallel the divine couple, as in religious ceremonies, with comparisons voiced in songs and their quasi-divine images on vases.
5 SummaryIn total we can see that there are a lot of water habits and traditions in all religions and ancient cultures. So these influence our daily life. Our society is still religious, so faith customs of water are still practicing. Our today’s culture originated from old cultures, so there also are some water traditions from old days. Actually I can’t even imagine, how can people be without water. You can buy a soap, but you can’t wash yourself without water; you can buy some tea, but again you can’t prepare and drink it without water. Water is used in many ranges and in some of these it is irreplaceable. Because of routine and daily round produces traditions and habits, water existed, still exist, and will exist in our customs, rites, traditions, ceremonies, habits forever and ever.
6 Referenceshttp://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/mwater.html Religionswww.thewaterpage.com http://witcombe.sbc.edu/water/religion.htmlHolly watterhttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07432a.htm Exorcizmwww.hermetic.com/sabazius/exorcism.htmEgypthttp://students.resa.net/stoutcomputerclass/nile.htm http://www2.sptimes.com/Egypt/EgyptCredit.4.2.html traditional water sportshttp://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/GeogHist/histories/Oldcivilization/Egyptology/Sports/main.htm http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/GeogHist/histories/Oldcivilization/Egyptology/Sports/main.htm http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/egypt/dailylife/fishing_egypt.htmEgyptian Mid-Day Ritual http://realmagick.com/articles/01/2101.html Romehttp://members.aol.com/Donnclass/Romelife.html#BATHS http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/index.cfm?fuseAction=SM.nav&UUID=C02F67EF-F2F4-4AD5-BE5A1F098650F31C ablemedia.com/ctcweb/consortium/ancientweddings7.htmlChinahttp://www.china-window.com/china_culture/folk_custom/the-customs-of-tajik-peop.shtml http://www.babyzone.com/babynames/china.aspwww.chineseliterature.com.cn/ traditionchineseculture/games/games1.htmhttp://www.china-window.com/china_culture/folk_custom/the-customs-of-tajik-peop.shtml Greecewww.indiana.edu/ ~gkcultur/guide/9/,ablemedia.com/ctcweb/consortium/ancientweddings3.html