The most likely origin of spring cleaning can be traced right back to the ancient Jewish practice (over 700 years prior to Persian culture emerging) of comprehensively cleaning their homes in readiness for the spring-time holiday of Passover.
In remembrance of the Jews’ hasty flight from Egypt following their captivity there, during the eight-day holiday there is a strict prohibition against eating anything which may have been leavened. Jews not are not only supposed to refrain from leavened foodstuffs, they are expressly commanded to rid their homes of even small remnants of chametz for the length of the holiday. Therefore, for the past 3,500 years, observant Jews have conducted a thorough “spring cleaning” of the house, followed by a traditional hunt for chametz crumbs by candlelight on the evening before the holiday begins.
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