September 20, 2013 by phicks2012
The usual Tradition is for “Spring Cleaning” — that time of the year when we open up the house after a stuffy winter, air the place out, and give everything a scrub and a polish.
Regarding the tradition of “Spring Cleaning”, according to Encyclopedia Britannica BLOG at
“In times past, when people kept their houses shut tight against the cold of winter, heated them with coal and oil and wood, and lighted them with candles, the coming of spring signaled a welcome opportunity to make a dingy habitation fresh again. On the first warm, dry day of the season, everybody in the family—that is, everyone in the family who had survived the ravages of the cold season—would pitch in to pull every stick of furniture and scrap of cloth outside. Then, armed with brooms and washrags, one squad of housecleaners would return to the house, sweeping and scrubbing every corner and washing down the walls, while another would air out linens, remove soot and ash from couches and chairs, dust books and paintings, and mend a few items on the run.”
According to Wikipedia at
“It has been suggested that the origins of spring cleaning date back to the Iranian Norouz, the Persian new year, which falls on the first day of spring. Iranians continue the practice of “khooneh tekouni” which literally means “shaking the house” just before the new year. Everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned, from the drapes to the furniture. A similar tradition is the Scottish “New Year’s cleaning” on Hogmanay (December 31), a practice now also widespread in Ireland, New Zealand, and to North America.”
“Another possibility of the origin of spring cleaning can be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the spring-time memorial feast of Passover (Hebrew: ??? pesach?). In remembrance of the Jews’ hasty flight from Egypt following their captivity there, during the seven-day observance of the Passover memorial or remembrance, There are strict prohibitions against eating or drinking anything which may have been leavened or fermented with yeast (Exodus 12:15, 19). Jews are not only supposed to refrain from leavened foodstuffs (known in Hebrew as ??? chametz), they are expressly commanded to rid their homes of even small remnants of chametz for the length of the holiday (Exodus 12:15). Therefore, observant Jews conducted a thorough “spring cleaning” of the house, followed by a traditional hunt for chametz crumbs by candlelight (called bedikat chametz [Hebrew: ????? ???]) on the evening before the holiday begins.”
But since I leave my windows open during the summer, fresh air is not really what The Castle always needs. With windows open, dust and pollen come in along with fresh air, coating everything and settling into corners, and when the summer is wet — as this past summer certainly has been — humidity comes in, too. Wooden doors to rooms and cabinets swell, and if you aren’t phenomenally diligent you’ll discover that you have some issues with the sneaky demon Mildew as well. I have a dehumidifier in my basement, but the summer of 2013 was the wettest I can recall, so this Autumn I’m starting a new Tradition.
“Fall Cleaning” means I’m going through the entire house dusting every surface and Orange Oiling everything — mopping floors with fragrant lavender Pinesol — laundering linens including tablecloths, curtains, and the washable throw rugs — vacuuming what rugs can’t be washed — cleaning out cabinets — and doing everything I can to make the place clean and fragrant.
This is taking a while, as you might expect under the circumstances, and I still have a bit more to accomplish. I need to finish mopping the basement and to wash the curtains from there, and I haven’t yet started on the attic. The curtains in my office still have to be laundered, though they’ve been taken down and and making it through the wash cycle even as I type. I’ve even discovered how best to clean windows on upper levels — hint: it involves tying a rope onto a garden hose and pulling it up through and open window to aim at other windows, and is entertaining to watch if you can avoid the splatter!
So “Fall Cleaning” is now well underway, and with luck will serve its purpose to ready The Castle for the Winter months! Anyone needing exercise or a challenge is welcome to drop by and pitch in, and to contribute to the creation of a new Tradition!!