Accepted Paper:

Indigenous traditions in modern public baths in the cities and towns (mental and physical health, wellness and communications)  

Authors:

Maria Vasekha (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS)
Elena Fursova (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography )

Paper short abstract:

We explore indigenous traditions in the public baths in Russian cities today, study the social relations, motivation. Traditions, customs, taboos, which we observe in the public baths, help to analyze aspects of spiritual life of the citizens, reveal components of the modern world in everyday life.

Paper long abstract:

This paper has the task of exploring indigenous traditions in the public baths in Russian cities and towns today, study the social relations of its visitors, their motivation (mental and physical health, beauty procedures and internal bath communications). Traditions, customs, taboos, which we observe in the public baths, help to analyze one of the aspects of spiritual life of the citizens, reveal one of the components of the modern world in everyday life. City bath solves a set of problems facing modern metropolis inhabitant: the treatment of several diseases, stress relief, maintaining wellness and positive communication. Such popular in the past in private baths functions such as: space for divination, part of the wedding ceremony cycle, place of birth and place of residence of inferior beings from Slavic mythology has never been characterized for the public baths till today. However selected elements of indigenous beliefs still alive: observance of Maundy Thursday, number of taboos, use of special herbs etc.

Culture conserve the things that truly demanded and makes sense for its representatives. Thus, public bath, losing its main function - hygienic in the twentieth century, remains popular in the XXI century. For the researcher is very important to understand the reasons of the attractiveness of a bath and its functions in a modern urban environment. The question is how relevant are the old ethnic and cultural traditions of the inhabitants in the modern metropolis.

Panel P036
Indigenous knowledge and sustainable development (Commission on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development)