WINDHOEK, SEPT. 17 – In September we know it is coming, the annual Spring clean. Namibians are very house-proud and will ensure their home is normally spotless. However, Spring-cleaning takes it to a whole new level. A frantic cleaning, polishing, washing and general dust-off, of everything that is in the house. Mum and dad get a maniacal glint in their eyes, and absolutely every object, every curtain and every room, nook and cranny gets a turn, even the dog if it doesn’t move in time. Whether its with the vacuum clean, furniture polisher, bleach, window cleaner or all-purpose cleaner. Everything starts to sparkle and smell and feel fresh as September rolls around.
But, why do people do this to themselves. Most people clean the house all year round, every week in fact, so what’s the need for an almost industrial or hospital level of cleaning of the homestead? The roots to spring cleaning are deep and go back centuries. Its almost embedded in our DNA as humans, we simply can’t ignore the Spring-clean, we’ve been conditioned.
Religious traditions and beliefs play a strong role in the advent of what is now called Spring cleaning and although the Southern Hemisphere experiences Spring at another time of year, we still follow the tradition. In Jewish custom, spring cleaning is and was linked to Passover in March or April, marking the liberation of Jews from slavery in Egypt. Before the start of the holiday, a general cleaning takes place in order to remove any yeast bread, or chametz, from the home. Egyptian slaves were fed unleavened bread, which the Jews later adopted as a symbol of their survival. Therefore, having any leaven or bread made with yeast, even crumbs, in the house is considered ungrateful and were to be banished. Which is where the thorough cleaning came into its own.
In Christian custom, the Catholics clean the church altar the day before Good Friday, also normally around March or April. Whereas in Iran the holiday Nowruz, or Persian New Year, coincides with the first day of Spring. The 13-day celebration traditionally involves cleaning (or “shaking the house”), buying new clothes, and spending time with family and friends. Spring cleaning is definitely a worldwide occurrence.
The time has long gone when it was just Mum running around cleaning, dusting and mopping. The whole family gets involved whether they like it or not. Cleaning apparatus and equipment has become more sophisticated over the years and the cleaning products more effective, less abrasive and smell better. These days after the cleaning, the house no longer smells like a disinfected hospital ward and effective tools mean that Spring cleaning is now a one or two day job, instead of a weeklong cleaning nightmare. After the Spring clean is finished the family can put up their feet. Start enjoying Spring weather and a job well done. Resting easy in the knowledge that their annual urge to clean the house is a centuries old tradition and certainly one to uphold. – email@example.com