According to the wikipedia article on Pesach--or Passover for the gentiles out there, myself included--"observant Jews spend the weeks before... in a flurry of thorough housecleaning." But I'm here to tell you from personal experience that, although there are over sixty nights to go, cleaning is thoroughly underway for the Hassids of Squirrel Hill. In case you don't already know every little thing about it, the whole point is to remove all of the Chametz, or leavened food, from one's possession--that is to say, home, car, office, handbags, clothing, and so on, before Pesach begins. And I mean, all of it. Every single crumb! Now, for those inclined to low-carb/gluten-free lifestyles, this may not seem such a daunting task. But say you have a two year old? Keeping in mind that every cheerio, every crumb of every graham cracker, in every tote bag, high chair and car seat, anything made with one of five forbidden grains, yeast, and water Must Be Removed from your possession by April 14th for fear of kareth (spiritual excision), you can understand why people commence this ritual cleansing so early. Though Halakha has no inherent value in my eyes, my professional affiliation with the local chabad community has got me swept up in the so-called 'flurry' of this tradition; I have no intention of eschewing leavened foods, yet I've latched on to the metaphor of removing "every last crumb" from my home in the course of my spring cleaning. It will, of course, be much easier, when my shiny new hoover arrives in the mail--I never thought I'd be so excited about a vacuum cleaner!
Best Valentimes ever!