Spring is here!
The weather is warming up. Flowers are beginning to bloom. And it is time to clean out the old and bring in the new or at least pull out some brighter color accents to match the colors outdoors.
But a question has been on my mind as I dust, wipe, and clean our house for spring. Something got me thinking about my parent’s culture. Do other Asian cultures make cleaning a priority during another time of the year? After some searching, here are a few things I learned about Asian cultural habits of spring cleaning:
1. Asians will massively clean inside their homes days leading up to Lunar New Year.
Lunar New Year varies every year based on the lunar calendar, while many of us in the U.S. celebrate the New Year based on the solar calendar, which always lands on January 1st. Can you imagine doing a major clean up when everyone else is preparing to break open champagne and attending fancy New Year parties? The tendency is to think about a major clean up after a party, not days leading up to the event.
According to China Highlights, the Chinese ward off evil spirits by cleaning their homes. By clearing out old items and doing a thorough clean from top to bottom, they celebrate the new year with a fresh start.
2. Shinto culture teaches the Japanese to collective clean as a society.
Japan is known for its cleanliness. Have you ever seen this?
Japan is ethnically Shinto, meaning it is culturally ingrained in society to incorporate aspects of the religion into daily lives. There is a collective belief in cleanliness for the sake of the community over one’s self, and this has helped the country to maintain a culture of cleanliness.
3. In Asian culture, many take their shoes off when they enter their homes.
Okay, this one is not about cleaning, but it does have to do with the culture of cleanliness. We practice this custom, which is not always practiced by our friends and neighbors. When friends enter our house, they kindly respect our culture and take off their shoes. One of our friends kindly brought her own house slippers during the winter months to wear inside our home. Personally, by keeping dirt in the foyer, it helps to keep dirt at bay off and of our carpets.
4. But in reality, major cleaning in homes around the world seem to fit well in the spring season.
Typically, Lunar New Year falls in January. In past years, it has fallen in early February. That is not too far off a spring clean schedule in the States, which is when I notice spring cleaning tips pop up in home magazines, such as Better Homes and Gardens (affiliate link). When you thoroughly clean your house, don’t you always feel better? I know I do, especially when I can take many of our gently used items to Salvation Army.
Are you looking for some practical tips to spring cleaning? Asian cultural sites give these general cleaning tips:
- Reorganize what’s left
- Dust from top to bottom
- Wipe down areas
While those tips are a bit too general for my taste, Apartment Therapy offers a short-term, mid-term, and long-term schedule to make spring cleaning a snap.
On the home front, I have been doing some home improvement DIY. I re-caulked our 20-year old shower stall. I cannot even show you those images as it might make you become ill. I know it made me gag a few times, but it was worth doing this simple DIY. I don’t see mold anymore, and our shower stall looks like it is brand new. It looks brighter and much, much cleaner, which makes me jump for joy.
Do you know of other cultures with different cleaning practices? How about sharing your favorite cleaning tip?
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From my hometown to yours,