As I scrolled through various Russian customs and traditions, I came across something I found quite interesting. In America, many citizens enjoy going, every once in a while, to a room filled with hot steam. We all know that a room like this is known as a sauna. Well in Russia, this is called a парилка. It is part of the general баня. And Russians apparently take there баня pretty seriously. It seems that it is a daily routine to relax in the баня with a group of friends. Also, there is something called a веник which is some sort of bath broom made of leafy branches that are dunked in cold water. These brooms are then slapped against the skin of the people participating. This hitting is said to hurt at first, and then become relaxing. Many times, one of the friends in your group will help you out with this. But if you don’t have your friends around for some odd reason, there is a special person responsible for the slapping of the twigs against the skin. This person is what’s called a банщик. As it turns out, the branch whipping is said to produce smooth skin and better circulation. Although I don’t understand certain parts of this tradition, I can understand why this is so common if it really does benefit their health.