Why clean and tidy at the end of the year?
Understand this ritual of Japan, why and what the benefits of cleaning and tidying up at the end of the year, related to the prosperity of the new year.
It’s December already. Here in Japan we have a very special activity called oosouji (大掃除). Can be translated as large cleaning, extensive cleaning or large cleaning and housekeeping. I’ll explain how it came about and the reasons for this ritual. Yes, for the Japanese it is a ritual.
You may be thinking “my house is always clean!”. Yes, I do not doubt, but read this post to the end that you will understand the ritual.
Cleanse and the history of ritual
It tells the story that began in the Asuka Era (538 to 710 AD), coming from Chinese culture. Buddhist monks would have brought this knowledge to Japan. They did the ritual – and they still do – calledsusuharai (煤 払 い) in the temples. They remove all the dust from the whole temple. It has a very special meaning: to get rid of the misfortunes and contaminations to receive the new year.
But, it settled between the population only in the Heian Period (794 to 1185). And from the Edo Period (1603 to 1868) it was believed that prosperity was in the kitchen clean. At the time the floor was beaten and had a wood stove. It was believed that if there were dirt in the place where food is prepared, the good fortune of the home would go away. I think it has to do with the teachings of Feng Shui.
The cleansing ritual is part of the great ceremony to receive the blessings of the new year.
When to start the big cleaning and housekeeping
In the lunar calendar, which was used before the current Gregorian, the start date was December 13. The house is ready to receive the New Year decorations on the 28th . They are, for example, kadomatsu (門 松) and shimenawa (し め 縄), a kind of rope garland, among others.
Here comes another Japanese wisdom for those who think “I’m out of time”. The people are planning.That’s it! Let’s see how this works.
Planning of large cleaning and storage
How about taking advantage of this ritual to discard, recycle or donate anything that has not been used for more than a year? Do not know where to start? Divide the planning by rooms of your house. The children’s room, ask them to make the arrangements. The rest, you (and your partner) can share the tasks.
Here comes the wisdom of author Marie Kondo from The Magic of Housekeeping .
Assuming you start at your room, remove everything from the cabinets. Select only what you touch and feel joy . This is the keyword. What brings no joy, discard saying “thank you, you have been very helpful”. Create boxes for disposal and donation. It makes work easier. And do it all at once.
When you take everything out of the cabinets, it is easier to clean it from the inside.
Everything is replaced giving an “address” for things and objects, grouped by each function. So you will not have things scattered around the house.
Once all the rooms have been arranged, planned on the specified dates, separate another 2 or 3 days for cleaning and cleaning. Here are the activities that are not usually done in everyday life such as the cleaning of the screens, walls, ceiling, chandeliers, curtains, etc. The tip is to start from the top down in the rooms. Example: ceiling, air conditioning, lamps or chandeliers, curtains, walls, glass, furniture, carpet and floor.
Create a schedule for tasks, make it easier to view and set goals. Here I remember one important detail: check the calendar of collection dates for large objects. Garbage should be sorted and disposed of correctly.
The places where there are water – bathrooms and kitchen – must be shining every day. It is where the prosperity of the house lives. These places should be cleaned every day.
The kitchen is where food is prepared, therefore, it has to do with the prosperity of health. The bathrooms are places of personal hygiene, where the fortunes of our destination live.
Guestrooms are all non-smoking. Therefore, they must be very clean. The living room and dining room are where family and friends gather, so neatly bring harmony and joy.
Benefits of Japanese Ritual
The Easterners believe (and I do too) that heart and mind are influenced by the environment. Imagine working in a dirty place. It’s uncomfortable, right? Now imagine living in a place full of mess. It affects the mind. The Japanese say that our house is a reflection of our mind. So tidy house, clean mind and heart.
The super-famous total quality tool – 5S – was also born in Japan, more precisely with Buddhist monks. So introducing this concept into the house is super cool! If you still do not know it, I promise I’ll prepare a post on the subject.
I really like what the author Marie Kondo teaches. If we live in a house where there are only things that bring joy, we will have joy every day, every moment. That’s right!
We draw lessons from this ritual.
- Detachment: discarding means detachment, including the feelings that accompany “things”
- If something new comes in a sai: thus we control ourselves to buy something new, stop being so consumerist
- Clean and tidy house does not allow mess as each group of things has its “address”
- Tidy house, mind and heart in order
- If for the Japanese the meaning is to receive the gods in the New Year, for us, good fluids
With all these benefits, I’m sure you’ve already gotten excited and will want to do the cleaning and cleaning with a lot of disposition. If you do not want to help (children, husband / wife, mother-in-law, etc.), do not be sad. Roll up your sleeves and do it! It will be good for you and everyone in the family! After all, we all wish well-being 😎
Great housekeeping and cleaning, because I’m going to do mine too! If you liked it, share it!
Thank you for reading the post. You may also love to read this blog.