Tokyo Notebook

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Posted by Kinakinw | --:-- | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | スポンサー広告

12 2012

Year-end Housecleaning Still Going On

Year-end Housecleaning

Japanese people have a custom of cleaning house at the end of each year. In December, many TV programs feature cleaning methods, and a lot of television commercials for cleaning things are aired. As the year comes down to a close, people ask each other if one finish it or not by way of greeting.

The year-end housecleaning originates from a religious tradition called Susuharai in which people cleaned their home altar and rooms to welcome the god of the New Year. In present-day Japan, many families, including mine, and companies still do it to greet the New Year.

My sister and I planned to do it thoroughly in two batches in late last December and did it, but some parts of our house are not cleaned because we spent a long time cleaning outside of our house beyond expectation and ran out of energy halfway.

So, we interpret the New Year as one in the lunar calendar (January 23), and the thorough cleaning is still going on. We made tile floor of our living room sparkling clean yesterday. We’ll go on to the inside of the refrigerator and kitchen shelf next week.

I heard about similar customs in other countries: the Scottish "New Year's cleaning" on Hogmanay (December 31) and "khooneh tekouni" which literally means "shaking the house" just before the new year in Iranian calendars. As for the latter, since the Iranian New Year falls on the first day of spring, khooneh tekouni is considered to be the origin of spring cleaning in Western countries.
他の国にも、例えばスコットランドでは煤払いと同様に大晦日(12/31)に行われた"New Year's cleaning"、ペルシャではイラン暦(ペルシャ暦)の大晦日に掃除する"khooneh tekouni"と、同じような習慣があったようです。このうちイラン暦の正月は春に当たることから、こちらを欧米における春の大掃除の起源とする説もあるようです。

In Japan, some do one's spring-cleaning, but I think most people declutter one's entire home and office rather than clean them. This is because the fiscal year (business and school) generally ends at the end of March, and in many cases, the personnel reshuffle, graduation and entrance take place during late March and beginning of April. The spring is the move season.

Some people say warm spring day is better for cleaning than end of December. However, besides the year’s end in which the whole country becomes enveloped in a cleaning mood, a person who’s not a tidy person, like me, never make up one's mind to clean the whole house.

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:30 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Cultural Issue (Japan)

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