In Latvian traditional practices, a sauna is referred to as a place of purification. It was believed that when the pagan gods Mara and Laima would see the sauna's chimney smoke, they would come to join the people there. A sacred place where water and heat merged together the beginnings and the ends. The ritual consists of the warm up, the emptying, the cleansing and the filling up. Slotiņa (a bundle of young twigs used as a massage tool) is the only physical tool used in the ritual. A child gets its first sauna whisk on the 8th day of its life, and when a body's life thread is cut, the whisk is put with them in the grave. It is a tool that together with the heat helps the ritual leader trace all energy lines from the head to the toe’s . The experience of the event depends on what you are ready to receive, this is an inherent part of the ritual. Māras pirtiņa transports you to the sauna and the only request from you is to be honest and let go.

shown as part of the Uncut stedelijk museum exhabiton (23- 26 March 2022)

Back to works