Sweeping in the Season

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It’s officially spring, which means it’s time to break out the mops and dusters in that annual modern ritual that fills many with dread: The spring clean.

Turns out, ancient humans did this, too, according to National Geographic.

One of the earliest known references to spring cleaning is found in the Jewish tradition of Passover, observed annually each spring. Then, all traces of leavened bread are removed from the home, symbolizing the haste with which the Israelites fled Egypt.

Meanwhile, Catholics clean altars in churches on Maundy Thursday ahead of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, which is held annually in March or April. And Nowruz – or the Persian New Year – sees millions engaging in “shaking down the house,” cleansing textiles to prepare for the nearly 3,000-year-old holiday that has Zoroastrian roots.

In East Asia, Chinese tradition involves pre-Lunar New Year cleaning to usher in good fortune, with post-celebration cleaning believed to sweep away luck, wrote CNN. In Thailand, meanwhile, during Songkran in April, people deep-clean homes, schools, and public spaces to purify them ahead of the Thai New Year.

Scholars say that many cultures see spring cleaning as a tradition to mark the vibrant growth of spring and the end of the dormant winter.

“With each sweep of the broom and polish of the surface, we honor a tradition that transcends time, uniting us with generations past in a shared pursuit of renewal and rejuvenation,” Danielle Patten of the London-based Museum of the House, told National Geographic.

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