When life for everyone in Europe was nasty, brutish and short, in the years before electricity, urban comforts and central heating, Spring came as a great relief.
For long dark months the whole family had been cooped up in a small earth-floored, straw-roofed and windowless building. In the centre was a small fire reeking smoke that curled around the living space before finding its escape through a hole in the ceiling. At one end of the dark, low shelter were the animals. Their smells, breath and warmth mingled with those of their human companions. In the confined space everyone, both human and beast, had to live, eat and sleep
In the northern climes during the deepest months of winter there was continual darkness. Outside the temperatures were intolerably cold. All that everyone had to look forward to was the change of season – the Spring.
Then one day it arrived. The door of the hovel could be flung open to let the sunshine in. The animals were released to pasture and the farming cycle of life began again. It was the perfect time of year to let the fresh air permeate the living space. The Springtide winds were clean and strong and it was still too early in the year for the midgies and flies to be about and threaten to infest the home.
As the sunlight penetrated the dark within, it became clear just how mucky the living space had become. The animals’ bedding was in urgent need of being cleared out. The few family possessions, skins, blankets and the like, stank of smoke and were in desperate need of a good airing. The detritus of the winter needed sorting. The floor needed a good sweep, as did the hearth. The fleas, bugs and vermin that had shared the same space could at last be cleared away. As the light showed up every mucky corner of the winter refuge it was self-evident things were in need of a good clean.
Thus the Spring Clean began. For our ancestors it became both a ritual and a celebration. Everyone in the family did their bit and by the end, with everything fresh for a new year, the ploughing and sowing could start
These days we may no longer herald spring in quite the same way, but there’s nothing like a good, thorough deep-clean of a home or work space to create a feeling of starting anew. Work surfaces, furniture, carpets are again made to look as if they’ve just been delivered and installed. The nooks and crannies of every room are dusted and vacuumed. Broken items are replaced or mended.
Spring cleaning in some form takes place in many parts of the world. The traditional Persian version of was called ‘shaking the house’ and was a very thorough affair with curtains and well as carpets being taken outside for the dust to be beaten out.
A Jewish spring ritual involves cleaning the house before the Passover celebrations. The house is swept clean incase any crumbs of ordinary leavened bread might lingering in the carpet or kitchen crevices, for during the Passover festival only unleavened bread may be eaten.
In the 19th century in the industrial towns of northern England the first fine day of spring was marked by women on the front door steps of their terraced houses simultaneously thwacking carpets with cane beaters.
Whatever the specific cultural or religious custom might be, at the end of a good Spring Clean the same feeling of satisfaction is found in all societies. The sense of a job well done is universally shared, as is the sense that life can begin afresh.
Spring cleaning can however be hard work. Not everyone is fit enough, or has the resources, to do everything for themselves. Some places are just too big to spring clean without help. Or perhaps they have been neglected too long for a single person, family or in-house work force to tackle. Whether the job in hand is an annual Spring Clean or a radical overhaul, some heavy-duty tasks may inevitably have to be delegated.
Today help is at hand from specialist cleaners prepared to tackle some of the biggest challenges. But fortunately when the job is done, whether by oneself or the professionals, the feeling of satisfaction at seeing everything spick and span again is just the same. Nothing beats the motivating effect of a good Spring Clean.
If your home is in need of a modern, professional spring cleaning service you can contact us for a free quote. More information on what we can offer is available on our spring cleaning page.