- Cleaning the house is a job for dad to do during his end of year holidays!
- Grand house cleaning is an important ritual for greeting the god of the New Year.
- There are plenty of grand house cleaning products on sale at 100 yen shops and home centers!
Cleaning the house is a job for dad to do during his end of year holidays!
Most people in Japan will start their New Year’s holidays from about next week. However, they can’t just laze around on the pretext that it’s holiday time. That’s because it’s the end of the year and there are so many things to do.
One of the standard tasks at this time of year is a grand house cleaning. Before greeting the New Year, one must clean every nook and cranny of the house, spots visible to the eye and spots hidden away too.
House cleaning is usually left completely up to the wife… but even dads who think that way can’t avoid house cleaning at the end of the year. Parts of the home that are usually not cleaned—ventilation fans and windows, the hard-to-get-to tops of tall shelves, storage areas that are usually not even accessed—these are all cleaned at this time of year, which makes New Year’s house cleaning rather demanding physical work.
Grand house cleaning is an important ritual for greeting the god of the New Year.
So why do people do this grand house cleaning at the end of the year?
With sunken hearths and fire stoves, Japanese houses of the past would get rather sooty. Getting rid of this soot used to be the symbol of house cleaning.
At some time or other, Edo Castle started to be cleared of all this soot on an auspicious day in December. This is said to be the origin of Japan’s grand house cleaning.
There is a reason why an auspicious day was selected for clearing the house of soot. This is not merely a matter of cleaning, but serves as a purification ritual, in preparation for greeting the god of the New Year, Toshigami-sama.
Toshigami-sama is the god who bestows abundance and happiness on the home and so it is considered proper to greet this god into a clean home.
There are plenty of grand house cleaning products on sale at 100 yen shops and home centers!
At this time of year, shops fill up with house cleaning products. TV and magazines feature lots of topics like “how to fit the most into your closet” and “removing oily grime in no time at all!”
Because parts of the home that normally don’t get attention are cleaned at this time, you tend to stumble across things like accessories that you thought you had lost, or photos full of memories. When your living space gets tidied up like this, you’ll find that your mood perks up too.
Why not try cleaning your house up, Japanese style, and greeting the New Year feeling refreshed?