What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

Categories: History |

For Russian people Banya was never just a place for washing. It's an iconic, almost sacred place to visit which has been taken most seriously. In the bath clean not only the dirt, but the weariness, the worldly troubles, illness and even sins. With bath, one way or another, were associated with the most important events in the life of man: birth, wedding and funeral. It is not surprising that in the baths, worked out strict rules and many restrictions to women and men.

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

Now most of the baths we have in the country divided into male and female Department and get on someone else's territory is not recommended. But earlier in Russia to this was much easier and no separation by sex did not exist.

Steam room. Artist E. M. Korenev. 1812

In the book "Bath. Essays on the Ethnography and medicine", published in 2015, the Russian historian Andrei Cottager wrote that overseas visitors were taken aback when they learned that in the Russian baths men and women bathe together. For Catholics and Protestants from England, Germany, France and Holland it was strange that visitors baths almost shy of each other and bathe as if nothing had happened. The Ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire in Russia, Augustine mayerberg, in 1666, wrote:

Not a single foreign source is not mentioned, what is the wash led to debauchery or any incidents. Everything was calm and sedate — calm Russian attitude to nudity and could only sometimes afford inoffensive jokes.

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

Procurement of bath brooms

In villages bathed in the baths with their families and this was due, in the first place, saving firewood and time. In the winter to heat the bath several times a day wasn't easy, so while bathed in the parents and children of both sexes. Not to say that this was welcomed by Church and secular authorities periodically attempted to 'civilize' visits to the baths, but a centuries old way was always stronger than.

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

Gender division in the Russian baths occurred only in the first half of the 19th century, as it is in itself, by gradual pressure of the Church and the imposition by the authorities of the Western way of life and European values.

For a Russian bath — it's always serious. Therefore, the place rules are obeyed unquestioningly. It was believed that the observance of decency and the unwritten bathroom laws following a special spirit like the brownie — swab. In addition, in some regions believed in a woman Orderyou that you had to placate before visiting the steam room simple food offerings and special plots.

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

For women there were a number of rules, some of which were quite understandable from the point of view of logic, while others relate to the world of superstition. For example, women could not bathe in the bath earlier men use brooms representatives of the stronger sex, to wash my hair on Monday and Wednesday.

Gave birth in the villages are usually in the bath, so part of the rules concerned mothers. They were forbidden to leave this room some time after birth. In addition to national rules and accept to act and some laws adopted by the authorities. In the 18th century issued a decree prohibiting women from working in the men's baths, makhaldiani and naturalizati (Yes, there were such bath the profession).

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

Some have interpreted it according to religious canons, as a legacy of biblical times. It is well known that men are the Jews always washed separately and first, as women were considered sinful and could violate a male spiritual purity, not only his presence, but his marks in the font.

But there is a logical explanation of such "discrimination." The bath in the old days was heated to very high temperatures and men washed the first to their mothers, wives and sisters should not experience discomfort.

Brooms were divided into male and female not just on a whim. The stronger sex whip twigs of oak, maple, ash or elm. For women brooms were made from the more delicate birch, Linden, alder or willow branches. Everyone came in with a personal bath with a broom, as in Russia since pre-Christian times believed that using someone else's thing to get the disease, poverty, or simply the bad luck of the person privleges with this broom before.

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

Steam alone was prohibited — a person could be in the bath alone, if you performed some special ritual, for example, wondered. This rule also has a simple explanation — the man in the overheated steam could be bad and the next was supposed to be someone able to help.

In the villages believed that lonely woman or a girl in the bath could attack the swab or Algeria. Washing your head in Monday and Wednesday women risked to hurt their braids or "to wash women's happiness".

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

A woman in labor in a Russian bath. Illustration of late 19th century

There is a mystical explanation — some of folklorists and ethnographers believes that the young mother remained in the bath after the birth of the child, as a dying ritual, to later be reborn in a new capacity — mother. For such a rebirth would take some time.

Visited Russia in the 16th-18th centuries, foreigners were very surprised that in the Russian baths very often, working women and even girls. The main profession of women is Mahalia or naturalize. The duties of these workers baths consisted of rubbing of bodies and waving brooms.

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

The Dutchman Nikolaas of Witsen, who visited Moscow, Novgorod and Pskov in the middle of the 17th century, later wrote that in the estates of Russian landlords and home owners and guests floated the beautiful serf girls. But Mahallesi worked not only in the "private sector", but also in the public baths. Already familiar to the researcher Rusi Andrew Cottager was not able to find any evidence that in Laguna's Russian baths during their employee had the visitors any sexual services.

So we can confidently say that in the old days in bath, went to bathe, and about stupid things in the temple and a couple of purity was not even thought of. In the 18th century, bath was divided into male and female, then the male half started to work with brooms exceptionally physically strong guys.

What are the restrictions for women operated in the Russian bath

The ban applies to all drinks, including beer. The swab can not stand the booze and drunks. Due to this law is not only abstract beliefs, but also by security considerations. Drunk could burn, scald or burn, and besides, drinking is inextricably linked with aggression and promiscuity, and bath in Russia, as we have said in the beginning, was a place sacred and chaste.

But in Europe the bath culture is not so rich. For centuries there was not accepted to bathe, because of security reasons.

Keywords: Bath | Women | Bathing | Steam | Rules | Rus