Sunday mornings living in Finland, we'd wake to the faint muffled sounds of people cleaning their rugs outside. Every apartment building had its own metal stand (two poles supporting a horizontal at about 6' high) on which to hang a rug.
Rugs were rolled up and carried outside where they were draped one by one over the stand. Then, a special paddle made just for the job was used to beat the dirt and dust out of the rug. It made a smacking sound that reverberated and you could hear it everywhere on cleaning days.
We miss it, and have actually taken ours outside of our NYC apartment, hung it over a rail and beat it with a broom. Not quite the same ritual and the broom doesn't have quite the same cleaning effect, but we loved this old cleaning practice and swear by its effectiveness. We just wish it was a bit more common here so we could take our rugs out every Sunday morning without causing a scene! (That's an old American rug-beating paddle shown at left.)