The start of a new year is often considered a time of renewal, just like spring. Otherwise, why would we make those pesky resolutions? However, most of us probably aren't doing lots of cleaning beforehand (unless you're having people over). Plus, it's in winter. But for many cultures, the new year and spring coincide. The Persian (and Iranian, and Zoroastrian) holiday known as Nowruz falls on the first day of spring and is the first day of the Persian calendar, too. People celebrate Nowruz in numerous countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and around the world.
Before Nowruz celebrations can begin, though, there's the spring cleaning ritual known as Khaneh-Tekani, literally "shaking house." The entire family pitches in, scouring the whole house inside and out. This includes things that don't get cleaned as often during the rest of the year, such as silverware, carpets and furniture, as well as clearing the garden of winter debris. Houses might also get a fresh coat of paint. To freshen and scent the air, some people burn sandalwood or an herb called espand. They may also buy scented flowers like hyacinth. Not only is Khaneh-Tekani about physically cleaning your house, it's also about getting rid of the past and of evil spirits.