With the arrival of April showers and May flowers, also comes the arrival of paper towels and cleaning solutions. While spring cleaning is almost universally dreaded, it is also a common practice, all over the world. Regardless of where you live, chances are you are cleaning out basements and garages, mopping floors and washing windows.
Spring cleaning very likely goes back to the beginning of recorded time and beyond. Certain housekeeping tasks are simply much easier to perform in warmer weather. Officially, spring cleaning probably came about as a result of people shutting all the doors and windows tight and heating their homes with coal, wood, or oil during the cold months of winter. This can cause a build up of soot and dirt on the walls and makes for a stuffy environment. Spring was a good time to open up doors and windows and let in the fresh air.
There has been some speculation that spring cleaning finds its origins in the Persian new year, Iranian Norouz, which occurs on the first day of spring. It is tradition to “shake the house” just beforehand and everything in the house is cleaned thoroughly from top to bottom.
A similar practice is observed in China where they sweep the floors and clean their homes to rid the house of any bad luck before the new year. The clean house is viewed as a clean slate.
Similar practices of cleaning out the house around the time of the New Year are performed in Scotland , Ireland , New Zealand and some parts of North America .
There is also speculation that spring cleaning finds its origins in the Jewish celebration of Passover, where a thorough cleansing of the home is performed. Keeping leavened bread in the house during Passover is considered arrogant and ungrateful – and even overlooked crumbs count. To make sure that their homes did not contain any of these forbidden crumbs, it became practice to thoroughly clean the house from floor to ceiling.
Eastern Orthodox Churches as well as others of the Christian faith often conduct a deep cleaning of the home during the first week of Lent. This is symbolic of the cleansing of spirit and repentance of sins that Christians reflect upon during the season of Lent.
As spring grows closer, the hours of daylight are extended. The greater amount of light might reveal certain things that would otherwise stay hidden in the dark winter months. Dirt in corners and crevices is certainly easier to see during the extended daylight, and also much easier to clean.
McNamee, Gregory. Spring Cleaning: Its History and Importance
Clark, Josh. Why do we traditionally clean our homes at the beginning of spring? http://home.howstuffworks.com/spring-clean-in-spring2.htm