When we were kids, it was common habit to get a full body cleaning in the bathtub once a week. For a long time I could not understand why on earth this had to be done precisely on Saturday evening at around 6 p.m., just around the time when the most important TV program started: “The Flintstones“, brought to us cross the Berlin wall from a West-German TV chanel. It would be the wrong conclusion to assume that our parents tried to keep us away from this american cartoon serie, since at the same time they had no problems to permit us watching “Star Trek“, “Gunsmoke” or “Streets of San Francisco“.
So it was a perment husle to finish the Saturday evening bathing in time, before “The Flintstones” started, and I could never understand why bathing was not done on another evening, for instance at Friday or Sunday. I also found it more reasonable to have a decent bath on Friday, since this would clean us of the dirt we collected at school during the week, or have it on Sunday, to make us fresh and clean for the comming week.
Only recently I understood the real reason why kids were always given the weekly bath on Saturday evening. It obviously goes back to the times when the highlight of social life was the church service on Sunday morning. For this event, people wanted to appear clean, and since it was considered risky to go out in the cold with wet hair, right after having a bath, the whole body cleaning was done Saturday night.
It is funny, how resilent such a traditions can be, considering that we, children in the 70s in a socialist country, never went to any church service on Sunday (except when it was Christmas time to hear some music). We were also not afraid to go out in chilly weather with wet hair, since we had hair-dryers of course, but at the same time we liked to be outside with wet hair during swimming season.
But still, every kid had to get its weekly bath on Saturday evening. I am wondering if later in life, our own son who is 16 years old now, will also wonder which strange habbits he had to follow in his youth.