Spring Cleaning From BC to AD
Love it or loathe it; spring cleaning is a great tradition that has deep historical roots. Just as spring is a time for renewal in nature, people have gotten their "clean on" going back thousands of years. I have to admit it; I have a love - hate relationship with cleaning; I hate doing it, but I love the results!
I had no idea that spring cleaning and daffodils is as old as human civilization! I found a wiki article with a summary of historical references to spring cleaning. In addition to the expected weather related desire to open the windows, there are cultural and religious traditions as well.
Learn more about the history of spring cleaning:
Cleaning Supplies from TheVacuumCenter:
The Jewish celebration of Pesach or Passover occurs in March or April each year. Before the celebration, the home is usually completely cleaned. Specifically, people got rid of any leavened bread, called chametz, which are forbidden foods during the Passover days. Even crumbs of chametz or a few leftover specks of leftover grains from forbidden flours need to be removed from the home, and typically, Jewish families hunt for any possible chametz crumbs the night before Passover begins.
Another origin for spring cleaning is linked to the Persian New Year celebration of Nouroz, which occurs at the onset of spring. Traditionally, the entire home is cleaned right before Nouroz begins, including floors, drapery, furniture, and ceilings. This is called khooneh takouni which translates to “shaking the house.” Twice a year in Saudi Arabia, a thorough cleaning of the Ka’aba is conducted too, which may relate to the khooneh takouni practice.
Eastern Orthodox Churches conducted a week long spring cleaning right before or during the first week of Lent. Other Christians may also use this time to clean the house from floor to roof. Obviously, anyone of any religion, inspired by warmer weather may want to take the time to get a house in order after the winter months.
Spring cleaning likely dates back to prehistory, and represents the time when it was easiest to clean the home / cave / hut, etc. After shorter winter days, the brighter spring days provided more light, and time, to truly see the messy state of their homes. Warmer weather also meant that people could get things thoroughly dry. In agrarian societies, spring cleaning usually coincided with the beginning of planting. It could be an ideal time to organize seeds and get the home ready for the busy months ahead.
Some groups also conducted a winter cleaning right before the dreary cold of winter sets in. This is often the last opportunity to clean things like quilts, mattresses and furniture before cold weather makes it challenging to dry wet clothing. Today many Americans may also conduct a spring cleaning or organizing of their tax materials before the federal tax deadline of April 15th. If receipts or tax documents have been scattered through the house, people may want to organize and clean the home at the same time they organize and file their taxes.
I know I always end up cleaning out my files and mail each tax season. And, the warmer and sunnier days always gets me ready to clean off the porch furniture. Enjoy the return of spring, and spring into action to get your clean on.
Spring Cleaning History Resources: