Bathhouse + Stovelore Discussion

Bathhouse + Stovelore Discussion - Hannan Merritt...

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Hannan Merritt Discussion Notes 9/20/07 The bania or bathhouse in Russia is a very pagan tradition with its own spirit called the bannik  that has to be appeased for the bania to be able to perform the magical qualities it was used for.  “The  bania  was the only place where Christian symbols could not be brought” (27). The steam of the bania is very important because it is linked to the life cycle.  “The bania  was heated for a woman after childbirth [Ryan 1999: 176]; even in cases when the actual  birth took place in the house or cattle-shed a bath was arranged for the same day [Kofyrin 1900:  56]. Brides went to the bath before their wedding day [Arsen’ev 1879: 64], which, since  weddings were usually celebrated on Sundays, would thus be on a Saturday [Gippius 1928: 152]  (27). The main tool of the bania is the broom used to spread the steam created in the bania.  This tool  has both sexual and pagan undertones.  “ Magic powers were ascribed to the broom with which a new-born baby was given his/her first steam bath; it was later used in charms to cure childhood
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Bathhouse + Stovelore Discussion - Hannan Merritt...

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