Modern Swimming Pools and Ancient Customs
Our affinity for the water (and affordable pool financing!) has resulted in an increase of all types of swimming pools — recreational, competitive and therapeutic. There are now an estimated 10 million swimming pools in the United States.
So why do we love pools so much? Paddling around in a pool is the stuff of a beautifully relaxing day; but there are healthy benefits as well. When you immerse yourself in cool, clear water you can practically feel the stress flowing out of your body, and that reduction of stress can help you lower your blood pressure. Even sufferers of ailments such as arthritis are soothed by a dip into an inviting pool of water. Those with injuries in need of rehabilitation can improve their range of movement and muscular strength doing exercises in the pool.
But our connections to the water go deeper; it ties us to our ancestors. While a spring was the source from which to draw water, it also served as a meeting place to gather and share news. For some, the water was a place to worship, give thanks and conduct purification rituals. The ancient origins of humanity’s ties to the water go back even further to the beginning of life itself when the first land-dwelling creature made its way out of the primordial ocean.
While future anthropologists will likely report that today’s backyard pool was used more to stay in shape and laze the day away, its ancient connection as a place of community still exists. Graduation celebrations and national holidays and long weekends are built around pool parties. Now we gather outdoors under festive umbrellas where the living is easy and there are paper plates from which to feast!
Sparkling pools of water still bring us together and continue to forge our sense of kinship in the happy, sunny days ahead.