In Jewish tradition and observance, today Mike and I will go, separately, to the mikvah to immerse and prepare ourselves for our upcoming wedding. We will shower & brush our teeth before we leave the house. I will remove the nail polish from my toes. There will be no jewelry worn, or even bandages covering any part of us. The reason for this can be interpreted as needing the water to touch every single part of your body. If you have on lotion or any barrier, the water cannot completely envelope you.
This ritual bathing serves the purpose of cleansing and preparing us for our union.
"In many ways mikvah is the threshold separating the unholy from the holy, but it is even more. Simply put, immersion in a mikvah signals a change in status -- more correctly, an elevation in status. Its unparalleled function lies in its power of transformation, its ability to effect metamorphosis." -Chabad.org
It's not holy water, in fact it's not even blessed. There is, however, a certain ratio of rain water to other water, to signify a connection to the earth. But it's a special place where you go to transform yourself. With each submersion there is a prayer to recite (and it's laminated, so if the paper gets wet no one worries). The first prayer for the mikvah translates into: Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning immersion. The second prayer is often a silent one which comes from your heart. The third prayer is one my favorites because it serves as a catch all and used often: Blessed are You, our God, Creator of time and space,who has supported us, protected us, and brought us to this moment.
And then, poof! You're all spiritually clean and sparkly. And Mike and I cannot "touch" each other until the wedding night!
Which actually won't be a problem since he's going on his bachelor party immediately after, coming back on Friday. Don't ask me how I feel about that.
But back to the Mikvah: it's a very unique, little known tradition. It's personal yet follows with you for days after. The submersion in the mivkah centers, clears your mind, and renews.
Oh and visiting the mikvah is not required, but rather Mike and I chose to do it.
4 days until the wedding!!!