Having witnessed the delight, or should I say sheer relief, on the faces of Extra Help customers in receipt of a seasonal deep clean, I found my curiosity tweaked about the origins of the spring clean tradition …
It turns out that a yearly top-to-bottom clean is very common in cultures worldwide. Nowruz is the Persian and Iranian new year, celebrated on the first day of Spring by communities throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and around the world.
“Before celebrations can begin, a ritual known as Khaneh-Tekani must be observed; literally ‘shaking house’!”
The entire family gets involved in cleaning the home and those jobs that don’t get done during the rest of the year are included. It may even go as far as a fresh coat of paint.
Often sandalwood is burnt to freshen the air. Traditionally Khaneh-Tekani isn’t only about physical cleaning but also getting rid of the past and evil spirits.
Houses are deep cleaned, and statues of Buddha are cleansed in homes or at shrines. During parades, people throw water scented with fragrant herbs and perfume at images of Buddha.New Year’s Day falls in the Spring months on many Asian calendars and in Thailand a two-day festival called Songkran falls on April 13th. Similar festivals occur in Laos and Cambodia.
No leavened product – not even a crumb – must be present in the home during Passover; hence every crack and crevice of the house are cleaned in preparation.Passover is a Jewish holiday in the month of April. During Passover Jews only eat matzo – unleavened bread – representing the hasty departure of the ancient Israelites who had to leave Egypt in such a hurry that they didn’t have time to let their bread rise.
Some cities have communal bonfires with music and fireworks. Sounds like more fun than turning out your kitchen drawers on a rainy Sunday in April does it not?Quema del Diablo or ‘Burning the Devil’ happens in Guatemala on 7th December. The Devil is believed to lurk in piles of junk, under the bed and in corners, so all rubbish is swept outside and set ablaze – sometimes with an effigy of Satan on top.
“So the top-to-bottom clean is a worldwide phenomenon emerging from many curious and interesting customs!”
I should just add a tip here; ‘top-to-bottom’ is, of course, meant literally. You can’t clean the floor before you’ve disturbed a year’s worth of dust from the curtain rails, can you?
Until next time …
PS: If you live in the Monmouthshire and Hereford area, do give me a call on 01600 488800 and Extra Help can do your spring clean for you!
PPS: Why not visit www.extra-help.co.uk and find out more?