* Blessed water has a role in numerous Abrahamic faiths, although its use in Christianity is the most widespread and notorious in Western culture.
** In Christianity, holy water is defined as water that has been blessed by an ordained priest during a specific ceremony. While holy water ''is'' used in exorcisms or to ward off evil influences, its primary uses are a lot less dramatic -- blessed water is often used in baptisms and blessings or sprinkled during Mass. In Catholic churches it's common to keep basins of it for worshippers to dip their fingers into before crossing themselves when entering the church, and some adherents of Eastern churches drink holy water to purify themselves. That being said, it's often assigned considerable power in popular superstition -- it was common in the middle ages for people to steal holy water to use in occult ceremonies.
** There are very specific rules concerning holy water's production, keeping and disposal. To begin with, only pure water can be blessed -- regular rain or river water cannot usually be made holy, and seawater never can. Holy water can also be extended by mixing it with regular, purified water, but only if the latter is lesser in volume than that which is already blessed. Holy water cannot be disposed of down regular plumbing, but must be poured out onto the ground, either directly or through specially made basins.
** The Book of Numbers describes how women accused of infidelity would be made to drink a special mixture of water and dust. If they were guilty, this would make them miscarry any future pregnancy; if they were innocent, nothing would happen.
** Certain Islamic traditions prescribe the drinking of healing water, generally either mixed with dust from sacred locations, blessed by an imam or both, to cure sicknesses of the body and of the soul.
* In Ancient Greece, holy water was called ''chernips'', created by extinguishing a torch from a shrine in a basin of regular water, and used to bless places and people.
* Buddhist traditions often make use of blessed water for a variety of purposes.
** Mahayana Buddhists create blessed water by reciting sutras over it, and usually either drink it or use it to bless homes.
** Theravada Buddhists bless water through certain specific ceremonies, and afterwards keep it around the home. Oil can also be blessed in this manner.
* In Hinduism, holy water generally comes from already holy sources, most notably the Ganges River, and is ritually bathed in for self-purification.
* Wicca uses blessed water in several ceremonies, and adherents typically create it by stirring blessed salt into a ritually purified bowl.
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