Easter time is upon us, with the clocks changing this weekend – moving an hour ahead – we face lighter times after the darkness of winter.
Fresh growth in the gardens heralds a new season – gone are the bare branches as green shoots and blossom cover the trees, and spring flowers bring a splash of colour to our gardens and parks – crocuses, daffodils, snowdrops – all showing their colours to proudly proclaim that spring is here!
Its the time of year that many turn to Spring Cleaning – throw open the windows, clear out the clutter, everything dusted, polished and scrubbed until it gleams. Apparently this is a practice carried out by most cultures with many differing theories as to the origins of the great spring clean.
Apparently the first part of Holy Week – ie Easter – is cleaning time. The home subject to thorough cleaning, carpets, soft furnishings, mattresses, floors & surfaces washed, waxed and polished. It was seen as cleaning and preparing to make the home ready for the great feast of the year, Easter. The practice was possibly taken from the Old Testament, the ancient practice of cleansing and sweeping followed by decorating the home for the feast of Pasch – the Jewish feast of Passover.
Although Spring Cleaning is more prevalent in climates which experience a cold winter, it is not always the case. At Persian New Year everything in the house was thoroughly cleaned to welcome in the new year, and Iranians practice ‘khooneh tekouni’ which literally translated means ‘shaking the house’.
In North America and Northern Europe, during the 19th Century and before the invention of vacuum cleaners and the like, March was seen as the best time of year for dusting the home. It was deemed warm enough to have windows and doors open but not too hot for insects to be a problem. With doors and windows open and a good sweeping brush the wind would carry the dust out of the house! Spring was also the time of year when coal furnaces wouldn’t be run and the soot deposits could be washed from walls and furniture.
Along with Spring Cleaning many people now are keen on ‘clearing out the clutter’ ‘downsizing’ and ‘feng shui’ – all practices based on the principle of ridding oneself of items which no longer have a use. Indeed one of the Feng Shui practices is well worth considering – it is said that you should gather all of your possessions in one place – so for example, empty all wardrobes and drawers and place all of your clothing in one room, then take each item and decide if it ‘brings you joy’ – keeping only that which truly ‘brings you joy’ – of course anything which does not fit or in need of repair should be instantly discarded. Belongings should then, according to Feng Shui, be put away in an orderly manner so that all are visible – the idea being perhaps that if we can see everything nothing is being forgotten.
Crystals play a part in Spring Clearing and Feng Shui – it is said that Amethyst placed in a bedroom helps with restful sleep, and rose quartz placed in the corresponding ‘relationship corner’ of a property helps maintain a harmonious home whilst citrine placed in the ‘wealth corner’ attracts prosperity and abundance. The Relationship Corner is said to be the furthest right hand corner of the property from the main entrance, and ‘Wealth’ area is the furthest left hand corner.