Where does the tradition of spring cleaning come from?

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Dear Mamma and Granny: What fool decided that we should clean the house, top to bottom in the spring? Where does this tradition come from and why?

Where exactly the tradition came from I can’t say, but it is practiced in several religious cultures throughout the world. Pagans and Wiccans practice the ritual cleaning of spring as a chance to renew their homes’ protections as the spring renews nature. In the Jewish faith, as part of the preparations for the passover, members of the the faith remove evwery trace of leaven (that’s bread yeast to most people) from the house. The night before the Passover begins, they even make a game of it, hunting in corners for bread crumbs which might be contaminating the home during this Holy celebration. So, I suppose if you need to blame someone, blame religion. On the other hand, in the modern world, the ritual has become less important than it once was. Today, we don’t have to take the rugs out once a year and beat them clean, we have vacuums. Personally, I think there ought to be a law requiring that every woman who works outside the home get a week paid vacation to clean her house once a year, thorough deep cleaning, complete with washing the walls and scrubbing nooks and crannies. For women who work at home, there should be a paid babysitter or some compensation as well. The fact of the matter is cleaning the house makes it healthier and it is like a breath of fresh air every spring. In some ways, it is a comfort to complete this ritual of spring, something that binds us to our mothers and grandmothers and all the women who came before. Maybe it began with Eve and a fig leaf. Maybe it was millenia later, but there is something to be said for it, just as long as we can get lots of help.

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The answer to "Where does the tradition of spring cleaning come from?"

Question asked on July 22, 2008at 8:59 pm:: Comments (0)
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