“Dongbei” (东北)is not a city or a province in the map and it is a northeast region of China. Actually, the northeast part of China includes 9 provinces but here, what we normally called “Dongbei” only includes 3 provinces: Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin.
This is an interesting phenomenon in China. Normally people come from Shanghai, we called them Shanghai people, from Hangzhou we called them Hangzhou people, but people who come from Liaoning or Heilongjiang or Jilin, we all called them Dongbei people. We always say people from different city have different habits, so we will use this kind of title “place+person”(上海人，杭州人) to group people. But people who come from these three provinces almost have no difference.
Firstly, in the past the ancestors in Dongbei share a common destiny and story. They built and develop Dongbei together. Next, Dongbei people all created unique Dongbei culture and they live in the same environment.
That’s all not our themes today.
Today we are going to talk about Dongbei bathing culture.
If you didn’t bath in Dongbei, you cannot say you’ve been there.
Because bathing is a necessary programme you must need to experience in Dongbei.
What is bathing culture in Dongbei?
The bathing culture in Dongbei has a long history, because the weather here has been cold since ancient times. In winter, due to special geographical factors, there are many natural hot springs.
In the world of ice and snow, the ancestors knew to seek hot springs to ward off the cold. Over time, the bathing culture with local characteristics gradually formed.
And today, the Dongbei bathing culture becomes famous all over China.
Bathing in Dongbei appears solemn and full of senseof ritual.
1.It’s sense of ceremorey appears in its environment.
Accroding to Dongbei people’s requiremnets , bath centres are becoming more and more functional, luxury and vrious.
Their decoration styles give customers different feelings like in Thailand, in Hawaii, in Janpan…
One bathing centre just like one small entertaiment centre. Except bathing, you can watch a movie, have a meal, play computer games here ect..
2. Its sense of ceremony appears in its complex process.
A total bathing process including 4 steps: wash, soak, steam and rub. It always lasts 4 plus hours.
For people in the Dongbei, bathing has long gone beyond its own significance.
Most southerners take a shower simply, but in Dongbei people’s eyes, taking a shower is serious.
Everyweek, most Dongbei people must taking a shower outside, it is a habit for them.
Only after experiencing whole processes of bathing they think they are clean.
The diffenence between the northest culture and the southest culture caused they have different understanding to bathing.
The southest people think bathing is a top private event but Dongbei people loves bathing with their best friends, customer clients ect. Bathing regards as an entertainment, a relax way for them.
After simply washing, people soak in the bathing pool. The temputure of water keeps 40 °C to 45°C which helps you detoxifying sweat. Because the characteristic of bath center is different, bath pool also sundry, for example some bath take fish to cure, ginger cure, Chinese traditional medicine pool. It ups to your need.
During that soaking time, you can enjoy a cup of tea also helps sweating.
Next, people need to take a sanua in sanua room for 10 minutes. You may feel hot and uncomfortable in sanua room. But sticking for 10 minutes, sanua help you to increase blood circulation and get rid of dirt.
All these former process are do preparation for next step: rubbing.
Rubbing is the core, the strip of bathing in Dongbei.
There are many types of rub. Vinegar rub, red wine rub, towel rub, milk bath, salt bath and so on.
Let’s talk about the combination of vinegar and salt rub briefly.
Vinegar rub is a very easy rub, it just help you to clean the oil and ash , more importantly to help you promote blood circulation, is absolutely a health culture. And then , the staff will use the salt massage your body. After that, it’s better to take a short sauna again, soaking the sweat in the brine to kill bacteria.
For the people who haven’t experienced bathing in Dongbei but hope to try in the future. Psychologically prepared, rubbing is really painful. But after feeling painful, you will feel very comfortable and light like thin ten catties.
In the end.
Bathing is popular in Dongbei and has become a culture in Dongbei. Even social intercourse, gathering and communication can be carried out in bathing.
Hope you have a nice day 😊
Isabella SHEN is a Chinese student study in EMlyon Business School in paris, France. She is the first year student in emlyon and majors in Global BBA.Now she start her summer internship in Mandarin INN.