The new year has come! Every culture has special customs for greeting the new year. China, Korea and Japan are no exception. The three nations are so different, yet they share the tradition of bathing at the beginning of each year. We take a look at the new year bathing traditions of these three cultures.
Bathing: Purifying the Spirit <Purity>
At Kandamyoujin Temple in Tokyo, people wish for health, happiness and love in the new year. Here, every year, bare-torso'd men and women in thin traditional costumes pour cold water on their bodies, paying no attention to the winter cold. This is a traditional event representing new resolutions and wishes for happiness in the new year. In the traditional cultures of China, Korea and Japan, one can find bathing rituals that represent the holy purification of the body and mind.
Bathing: Cleansing the Body <Health>
In the Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu district of China is Yao Village. The Yao minority treat the sick and maintain their health with herbs found in the mountains. Ttaemili, the practice of scrubbing hard to remove dead skin cells, was also a way people maintained their health. Find out more about the ttaemili practice, which can now be found in the bathing cultures of Korea, China and Japan.
Bathing: Relieving Fatigue <Relaxation>
For the Japanese, bathing represents the end of a day. Public bathhouses in Japan open in the afternoon, and Japanese families take baths after dinner. Discover how a bathing culture represents relaxation and the conclusion of a tiring day.
Bathing: Having Fun Together <Amusement>
As standards of living change, the function of bathing is changing as well. In Korea, China and Japan, large bathhouses where people can eat, watch performances and get massages are a new trend. Bathhouses are becoming a destination for amusement that can be enjoyed with friends and family.