In most western countries, the approach to cleaning is very similar. It is a chore that needs to be done!
However, in countries and cultures from the other parts of the world, cleaning holds a lot more symbolism than meets the eye.
The world is full of different cultures and each culture brings with it a different set of norms and ideologies. Cleaning in some countries holds special connotations and meaning. Allow us to take you on a journey around the world to explore some unusual cleaning traditions.
Famous for its cuisine and vibrant colors China has beliefs about cleaning that may surprise you.
The start of the new lunar year brings excitement worldwide among Chinese communities. Within Chinese culture those that celebrate the Lunar year vigorously clean their homes before the year begins. Floors are swept, dishes are washed, carpets are vacuumed. Everything you could possibly think of is cleaned.
The reason is that the Chinese clean to get rid of any bad luck before the New Year. On New Years Day cleaning is strictly forbidden as it is believed that you can wash or brush away any good luck that might have arrived. On this day dishes are not washed, floors are not swept and carpets are not vacuumed.
In Guatemala there is a festival called Quema del Diablo. This translates as burning the devil. The tradition, which takes place each December, sees that residents clean out all the trash from their home and burn it on the streets.
The reason why they decide to burn their trash stems from religious and cultural tradition which was established in the 1700’s. Many Guatemalans believe that the devil lurks in your home, hiding in different places including your rubbish. Therefore, all participating residents collectively go outside to burn their rubbish in a bid to burn the devil away.
The Japanese are very particular about house cleaning. The country makes cleaning a priority. And this is embedded into citizens from when they start school. At school the pupils as well as the teachers are all expected to take part in a school-wide clean. This is to ingrain good morals within the students.
In the home cleanliness is vital. Before entering the home, guests and residents are expected to take off their shoes and put on house slippers. This is so that outside dirt does not get inside the home.
Religion plays a big part when it comes to cleanliness as the Shinto Gods are believed to hate dirt and value purity. That is why communities come together to clean their neighborhoods.
In Iran there is a cleaning ritual known as Khaneh-Tekani which means “shaking house.” In this ritual the entire family must all come together to clean the house. During this ritual, a priority is made to clean things in the house that may not get cleaned regularly during the year. This includes household items such as furniture, carpets as well as the garden.
Residents of the house may often repaint their home in a bid to give it a “new feel.” Many people will burn herbs in their home such as espand to burn away Evil Eye. Evil Eye is a concept that suggests that someone may give you evil eye which is bad luck or fate.
To conclude, a spring clean may mean something entirely different in Europe as it does to Asia. Try and adapt different cleaning rituals and methods from different countries to help spruce up your weekly cleaning regimen.
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