Rituals of hygiene have taken different forms from Neolithic times until today. Water is the key ingredient that has always played a vital role in personal hygiene and clean drinking water was the first human necessity even for the most ancient civilizations.
Purification ceremonies or bathing rituals, particularly in natural hot springs, are the most ancient form of cleanliness and were once called ‘sweatbathing’. In ancient Egypt however, people rubbed themselves daily with a perfumed unguent oil that had been soaked in scented wood for days. The mixture was left in a pot until the oil absorbed into the wood and scented it throughout. Perfumed oil was believed to prevent the skin from drying out in the harsh, dry climate and helped to mask the musky scent and sweat smell.
Before the late 1800s Europeans usually covered up body odours with perfumes and many noblewoman carried bouquets of fragrant flowers to cover up their personal smell. No matter the ingenuity of natural purification methods, some have been more successful than others and have led to much of the knowledge we use today. Some of these rituals and techniques have been adapted and are an integral part of the Cacao Beauty Ceremony—a journey of six hours in the company of women, songs and the elements in ritual.
Keep reading here.