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The Importance of Water in Different Cultures

Water is essential to life. We build cities around it, cleanse, play and drink it. It is a scientific fact that we cannot live without water.

While we universally recognise the significance of water for human life, each culture also has it’s own way of symbolising that value. For many religions and beliefs, water plays a leading role in rituals and practices.

Mentions of water in some cultures are found in: Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.

Animism: The perception of water in animism is that it is an entity that connects others and creates relationships.

Hinduism: Hindus place an importance in physical and spiritual wellbeing by achieving purity. Water in Hinduism is a sacred place because it is believed to hold purifying and cleansing powers.

Buddhism: A Buddhist’s path to enlightenment includes a diligent cleansing of body, mind and spirit. Buddhism embodies the calmness and serenity of water by practicing water offerings at Buddhist shrines.


Christianity: Water in Christianity is primarily linked to the ritual of Baptism, where a follower professes his/her faith by bathing in ‘holy water’. This symbolises rebirth and purity.

Islam: In the holy book of Quran, water symbolises wisdom. It recognises that water is a part of life; that we are made up of, live, breathe and consume water. To know this is a conscious awareness of the self.

Although water manifests itself uniquely in different cultures, there is a common need for finding a responsible way of consuming healthy water.

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