Traditionally, Jewish women immerse in a mikveh, or ritual bath, before their weddings. Brides recite prayers and dunk themselves two or three times in a pool of treated water that is "kissed" by natural rainwater or water from a moving stream. The pre-wedding immersion symbolizes the transformation from single life to marriage. Many observant women continue this tradition throughout their lives, with monthly immersions around their menstrual cycles.
[Image: Copyright 2004 Peter Lewitt. Photo courtesy of Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center, Newton, Mass.]