The Origins of the Phrase “Spring Cleaning”
People are always talking about doing a bit of “Spring Cleaning” – even if it’s not Spring! So how come we adopted this odd, seasonal phrase, to mean ‘a large clean out’? Here, we’re going to get to the bottom of the origins of the phrase Spring Cleaning, and tell you how you can carry out a Spring Clean in your life.
How did Spring Cleaning come about?
It appears that the modern phrase ‘Spring Cleaning’ came into the popular lexicon during the 1850s. However, the origins of a large clean happening in Spring may be from several cultural traditions from around the world.
A Jewish tradition?
Passover, a traditional Jewish holiday, is a time when Jewish people eat only unleavened bread, called Matzah. Why the unleavened bread? It is to be reminded of the swift exit of the Jewish people from Egypt, so swift they didn’t have time for their bread to rise. The story goes that Moses told the Pharaoh of Egypt at the time that devastating plagues would come to the city if he did not free the slaves. When the plagues became worse and worse, only sparing the slaves, Moses was told to mark every door of a Jewish household in lamb’s blood so the plague would “pass over” their home. The Pharaoh finally told Moses that he and his people must leave immediately. Before the beginning of Passover in April, Jewish people must clean their homes completely for traces of any leavened food in preparation for the holiday – a Spring Clean.
An Iranian tradition?
The 21st of March marks the day of Now Rouz, or Persian New Year in Iran, and also marks the ritual khooneh takouni, or ‘shaking the house’. What is shaking the house? It means starting the year anew, which means cleaning every inch, including all home items, furnishings, fixings, nooks and crannies. Fresh flowers are brought in to give the air a new smell, and new clothes are bought so everything and everyone starts the new year fresh.
A Chinese tradition?
Did you know that Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival? You probably already knew that Chinese traditions can be quite superstitious, with good luck and bad luck coming to those who do and don’t perform certain rituals at certain times. One of these rituals is cleaning and washing the house at the end of the year, so that any bad luck that has gathered in the house can be removed to start the next year fresh and ready for good luck.
Spring cleaning don’t have to be because of your heritage and it doesn’t even have to be in Spring! Get some expert cleaners to help you with a big clean. It’ll make you and your house feel as good as new.
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