With Burning Man having only recently finished again for another year, when I read all the stories and see all the photos and videos I think back to my two visits to the festival. One of the mottos of Burning Man is “Radical Self Expression” and everyone talks about how there are no rules and it’s so free. There are a few rules of course. That sort of thing keeps people alive and stops the world descending into complete chaos.
What I really remember though is that no matter how free from convention or rules we are, it seems to be human nature for people to create rituals or ceremonies where there weren’t any before. Each evening at dusk at Burning Man, there is a procession of lamp lighters who wander out in formation to light the gas lanterns down the main crossroads across the playa. Before the man itself burns on the Saturday night, there is a procession of people bearing fire to the fire dancers who then do a very ritualistic performance. It’s natural for people to want some kind of order and ritual, no matter how small.
This video is all about the tradition and ritual of the traditional sauna of the people in Voromaa in Estonia. Sauna’s there are not an every day thing, just on weekends and special occasions and traditions must be observed. Personally I don’t do well with that much heat but I love the idea of communal bathing and the traditional sauna with it’s bizarre beating of the skin with branches etc. It’s a true bonding and almost meditative experience from what I can see.
Sadly I don’t think Iceland will have anything like this. They do have lots of hot springs though. Fingers crossed for a nude hot springs soak in the wild.