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Kick-Start Spring Cleaning the Iranian Way, With Khane-Tekani

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As we move into the month of March, spring edges closer towards us, bringing with her the welcome promise of lighter and brighter days. Winter is naturally a time of deep hibernation and after a series of cold and dark months, it’s fair to say that a few cobwebs may have gathered around us—physically as well as metaphorically. Well, now is the time to start dusting them off.

In Iranian culture, we begin this process of spring renewal through in our preparations for Norooz, the Iranian new year.

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Paint bucket season.
Paint bucket season. Photo by Julia Gartland

Norooz means "new day" in Farsi and is an ancient festival that has been celebrated for over 2500 years. It takes place at the exact moment of the spring equinox, which this year falls on March 20th. Like all ancient festivals, it is steeped in ritual and symbolism, the first part of which begins now, in the weeks preceding Norooz, through a process of extensive spring cleaning.

In Iranian culture, homes are being subjected to what is known as khane-tekani, which—literally translated—means "shaking down the house." Carpets are washed, walls are painted, and that cupboard at the back of spare room which has accumulated all the debris from the past 12 months is finally sorted and emptied. It’s a case of out with the old and in with the new; time for a fresh start.

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Like most ancient rituals, khane-tekani has spiritual as well as physical benefits. Yes, it is always useful to get your home in order, but embarking on an enthusiastic spring clean can have a positive impact on your psyche too. De-cluttering has the power to generate fresh energy, create mental and physical space, and release negative emotions. After all, it is only by clearing out the old that you can make way for the new.

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So why not hoover under the sofa, put up those picture frames, and go through your kitchen cupboards throwing away anything that has gone past its sell by date? Gather all the clothes you no longer wear and take them to a thrift shop. Wash your rugs. Dry clean your coats. Wade through that growing pile of paperwork in your office.

In short, start clearing out everything that you don’t need so you can make space for what you do. Spring renewal is one of the most powerful cycles in nature and one of the best places you can start it is in your home.

Here are some of our best spring cleaning tips, to help you celebrate:

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Yasmin is the author of The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen.

Tags: khane-tekani