Happy Spring! The season of new beginnings, spring cleaning and the first blog for The Clean Witch. Curious as a cat, I began to ask why spring cleaning?
There is an obvious and practical reason. Prior to modern HVAC systems, heating and lighting your home throughout the winter meant a lot of soot and dust. The warmer Spring temperatures and extended daylight was an ideal time to open the windows, banish your husband from the house and clean.
More interesting, spring cleaning cultural, religious and historical associations. Iranians celebrate Nowruz, which translates to new day, is the Persian new year. Before celebrating, modern Iranians like their Persian ancestors, practice khaneh tekani which translates to “shaking the house.” Spring cleaning in Iran is a family affair. The home is meticulously cleaned to clear away the debris of previous year. Damaged and worn goods are removed or donated. In addition to cleaning, Iranians burn esfand , a wild rue, to ward off evil spirits, a tradition dating back to Zoroastrianism.
It is a Jewish custom to remove leaven from their homes in preparation for Passover. For three days following Palm Sunday, Catholics vigorously cleaned their homes and on Holy Thursday clean the altar for Good Friday. In the Greek Orthodox tradition Lent begins on Clean Monday the beginning of Clean Week.
Spring cleaning may be a time honored ritual, yet how we clean in the modern era has changed. It is unlikely that we will hang our rugs on the side of our home, clean for a week, or banish our significant others from the house. Before you spring clean, I ask you to review the Environmental Working Group’s Hall of Shame, similar to the dirty dozen it lists common household cleaning products that could be creating more harm than good.
So on this new day, try a new way to spring clean.