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Cultural Water Drinking Habits & Beliefs

Water is an essential part of life, we use it everyday and its vital to keep us alive. But around the world water has different meanings for each culture and religion, and many of us have different drinking habits depending on where we live.

While it’s interesting to learn, you will come across many different people from around the world in your life, especially while at University.

Something so simple as water has various meanings and habits around the world, and it’s key to celebrate and encourage these differences, especially in education systems.

Cultural Differences In Drinking Water

While in the UK, our drinking habits and preferences lie mostly with the brew rounds, with 74% of Britons drinking cups of tea at least once a week, and with 17% saying they have more than 20 cups a week, according to a study at YouGov. This same study shows that tap water is also more popular than bottled water.

But around the world, drinking habits can change based on what we deem is important. For example, in the UK we would normally go for a glass of cold water, but according to this LA Times article, in China, their drink of choice is hot water. This can be traced back to the founding of Communist China in 1949, when tap water quality wasn’t high so drinking plain boiled water was better for health and hygiene. They believe that hot or warm water balances out cold and humidity and helps to promote blood circulation and release toxins.

Read More: Is Hot Water As Hydrating As Cold Water?

Drinking hot water has a lot of benefits. In Japan, they believe that drinking hot water on an empty stomach after waking can cleanse your digestive system and control your gut health.

Called Japanese Water Therapy, this is believed to increase your water consumption, lower calorie intake and improve health. It’s also believed that transparent liquids are healthier, and therefore drink them more often and require frequent access to clean water.

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Cultural Values of Water

Not only does where you’re from shape your drinking habits, but also influences how you value water. While the main value of water is to give us life, the cultural values of water extend further than this. Including the benefits of mental health, spiritual well-being, emotional balance, and happiness.

Water is all around us, and many people appreciate its scenic beauty and see the importance of water in its wildlife and gift to the environment. In religion, water plays a big part in traditions, symbolisms, and rituals around life, purity, renewal, and reconciliation. Water can also be seen in conflict, with water-related conflicts around the world, but water can also support resolution and can be valued in peace-making.

Water Traditions and Practices

In culture, there are also a lot of examples that we’ve seen of traditions, rituals and practices that use water. For example, the long-standing tradition of women carrying buckets of water on their heads implies responsibility and economic and social traditions.

We’ve also seen traditions such as using filters to improve water quality, building systems to cleanse or transport water across settlements and cities, to even using water to mark territory by having a man-made river or moat around an area.

Spiritual Significance of Water in Religions

Water also plays a role in religious beliefs and the significance of water changes depends on what you believe in. While around the world, water signifies life as we need it to live, there are various mentions of water in Christianity, Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam religions.

  • Christianity: Often seen as ‘holy water’, water is primarily linked to Baptism rituals, where one professes their faith and bathing in blessed waters, symbolising rebirth, and purity.
  • Animism: The belief that natural objects and all things possess a soul or spirit and so therefore are alive. Here the meaning of water signifies an entity as they believe that rivers don’t just give life but are alive.
  • Hinduism: Water in Hinduism is sacred and is believed to hold purifying and cleansing powers. Here the spiritual meaning of water helps to achieve purity physically and mentally.
  • Buddhism: In this religion, water is believed to aid in the path to enlightenment to help cleanse the body, mind and spirit. Water in Buddhism embodies calmness and serenity and is often used in rituals and offerings at shrines.
  • Islam: In the holy book of the Quran, water is a part of life. We are made of water, live, breathe and consume water. Here water symbolises wisdom as to know this you need to have a conscious awareness of yourself.

Water itself holds a lot of different spiritual meanings and therefore affects the way we consume or use water in various rituals and offerings. With religions that see water as a purifier, they will want more access to clean water more often. We see water as a symbol for enhancing your life, while others even use rain dances to call upon water in times of need.

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Access To Drinking Water Around The World

Around the world water is seen in different lights, but no matter what cultural habits or beliefs, water is needed to live. And having access to clean and safe water isn’t always possible. Here in the UK, tap water is safe to drink across the country, but in other countries, this isn’t always the case.

A report by the  World Health Organisation/Unicef Joint Monitoring Programme shows that billions of people have access to water, but in 41 countries, a fifth of people drink water from unprotected sources. And it’s not only that, but collecting water is still a burden and water isn’t available all day, every day in many parts of the world. And in many countries, people pay for water and sanitation to have access to water in the first place, which isn’t always affordable.

Water In Educational Systems

Looking at water, it’s clear that it’s a vital part of life and holds a lot of spiritual meanings for different backgrounds. Having a constant flow of clean and safe water is important in any sense, but especially in schools and work. Water keeps people going, and helps to clear your mind, body and soul as well as making you healthier.

Education systems are a good place to have different types of water as well, and knowing how other people see the importance of water in their lives. Since universities are full of different walks of life and international students, it's good to cater to everyone’s individual needs. At BRITA, we offer water dispensers for schools and universities which offer hygienic and refreshing water types. From unchilled, chilled still, sparkling, and even hot water on demand plugged straight into your water supply you can cater to any student’s needs. Placed around the school and staff rooms, you can have constant access to filtered water that doesn’t run out. It saves you money and is more sustainable since you aren’t using bottled water.

Water Habits & Beliefs Around The World

We see water everyday and use it, while some of us don’t think too much about water, others find deeper significance in it. From the life that it gives us and the world, to signifying peace, purity or balance, to being used in traditions, rituals, practices and even throughout civilizations and history. No matter what your belief is or which water you prefer drinking, having access to clean and safe water is important. Great for workplaces, our hot and cold dispenser offers the best of both worlds and allows you to have all the water you need at any time.

If you are interested in a BRITA water dispenser for business you can always contact us, we’d love to help! To learn more, why not take a look at our Dispenser News & Stories.

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