Spring cleaning around the world

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Spring is officially around the corner, which is a good time to get your house tidied up in ritual known as Spring Cleaning! There are varying opinions on where this ancient practice came from, with some historians connecting the practice of thoroughly cleaning one’s home with preparing for the springtime feast of Jewish Passover. Early Christians followed this example with spring cleaning happening before celebrating Easter. Followers of Eastern Orthodox Church have an entire “Clean Week” at the beginning of Lent which frequently coincides with the New Year on the Julian calendar (April 1).

The Persian New Year also falls on the first day of spring, and Iranians continue the practice of  Khaneh-Tekani, literally “shaking the house” a few days before the New Year when everything in the house is cleaned from top to bottom.

In China, the Lunar New Year marks the end of the winter, and there’s a cleaning ritual that happens right before the New Year, and a Cantonese saying that means “to wash away the dirt on Ninyabaat (28th day of the 12th month)”. Cleaning your home gets rid of any bad luck you had in the previous year, sweeping rooms from the entrance to the center and trash/bad luck going out the back door while leaving the front door prepped to receive good luck. Brooms are not used during the first few days of the new year so that good luck is not swept away inadvertently.

Russia continues a spring cleaning event that was established by Lenin in 1919 as a volunteer effort to support the economy. Lenin named the cleaning the subbotniki, a word derived from Saturday in Russian. While it wasn’t quite so voluntary to participate during the Soviet era, the annual event is still practiced today by thousands of people who choose to volunteer. I can sympathize with how those Soviet “volunteers” felt, having been conscripted by my parents to pitch in with the annual deep clean of our house.

In the U.S., Canada, and northern Europe, the climate made spring cleaning a practical affair. March was seen as the best time for dusting since it was warm enough to open windows and doors but not yet warm enough for bugs to be a nuisance. Coal furnaces stopped running once it began to be warm enough, so people didn’t have to worry about a continuous battle to wash the soot from walls and furniture.

Whatever part of the U.S. or Canada you live in, you can reach one of our vetted cleaning services to schedule your own spring cleaning. Happy Spring!

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