Bathing: Supernatural Waters
Why can the seemingly everyday activity of bathing mean so many different things for millions of people around the world? For some, unwinding in a nice, hot, soothing bath is a just reward after a long day’s work. For others, it’s an imperative act of religious faith.
In the first of two programmes on bathing, Mike Williams asks: Why do we bathe for purification? He looks at the rituals and symbolism of bathing: to wash away our sins, cleanse our souls, to prepare ourselves for an encounter with the divine.
From ceremonies of purification of the Christian baptism to the Sacred River Ganges, from the ancient Roman Empire to the modern Middle East, he traces the history of ideas associated with healing, spiritualism, purification and re-birth through the act of bathing.
(Image: Hindu devotees bathe in the waters of the holy Ganges river believed to be the largest religious gathering on earth. Copyright: Getty Images)