Have you ever wondered why we Spring clean? I have always thought that it was because the increased light which pours into our homes during the bright spring days shows up all the cobwebs! I decided that as spring was the blog subject for April I would research the history of spring cleaning.
I found various articles citing the origins of spring cleaning. These included:
The Persian New Year (Iranian Norouz) falls on the first day of spring. It is customary to carry out “khooneh tekouni” (shaking the house) before the festival so that everything in the house has been thoroughly cleaned; new clothes are also made as part of this festival. Another version of this is the Scottish “New Years cleaning” which takes place on Hogmanay (December 31).
The Jewish people practice the thorough cleansing of their houses in anticipation of Passover. They rid their houses of all leavened foodstuffs (anything containing yeast) to commemorate the Jews hasty flight from Egypt following their captivity. During Passover the Jews refrain from eating any leavened products. There is also a traditional hunt for crumbs by candlelight on the evening before Passover commences.
In orthodox countries it is traditional to clean the house (Clean Week) before the first week of Great Lent which commences on April 1st.
The Chinese New Year which this year fell on Valentines Day is a traditional time for cleaning houses. They also have a special day for Tomb Sweeping.
Many believe that spring cleaning dates back to times when people had coal and wood fires to heat their houses through the winter. Traditionally in spring they cleaned the whole house to remove the dust created by these fires during the winter months. Furniture was taken outside to be cleaned with bedding and quilts being hung outside or draped through the windows to air. The ashes from these fires were used by some women to make lye used in soap making.
In the last 2 articles for this month I will focus on the use of essential oils for cleaning the home and also for blowing away the cobwebs our bodies may have accumulated during the winter.