You Don’t Have To Be Religious To Learn How To Enter These Homes: I’m at a stage in life when we’re still moving from rented apartment to rented apartment- and still enjoying it. I love moving to different communities and discovering new kinds of people, new surroundings, etc. I’d imagine that perhaps the novelty wears off after doing it a few times but for now I’m enjoying it!
Each time we move we do a special Jewish home-warming ceremony which involves the recital of certain Hebrew passages, blessings and light food. I got wondering what other traditions are out there for those moving into a new house…
In the eight years that I’ve been living in the country that I’m living in, I have moved six times. Three of those have been with my husband. I love moving to new places and discovering new people, new communities and new surroundings. Each time we move on the first night in our new apartment we have a small Jewish home-warming ceremony that involves reciting certain Jewish passages, blessings and offering the visitors light refreshments.
It is the Jewish custom to affix a Mezuzah as soon as possible when moving into a new home. A Mezuzah is a piece of parchment inscribed with passages from the Torah that is more often than not housed in a plastic, wooden or metal box and affixed to the right-hand side of the door frame.
Another Jewish tradition is to bring new house-owners salt, bread and a broom- salt to season one’s life, bread as a blessing that you will never be hungry and the broom to sweep away any sadness in your life.
Both on leaving and entering a house, the Chinese celebrate with fireworks and celebrations.
Before bringing new furniture into their new house, a stove with burning coal briquettes is carried into a corner of the home.
Another Chinese tradition is the shining of a flashlight into every corner of the new home before moving in so as to show the spirits where to go.
Some Chinese people will always make sure to bring a bamboo pole into the house due to bamboo poles always having one joint that is higher than the other, which the Chinese see as symbolizing people’s desire to progress in life. After bring the bamboo pole in, the objects are brought into the house from bigger to smaller ones.
Lastly, the Chinese also believe that bringing an orange or tangerine tree into the home brings good luck because the Chinese words for orange and luck are very similar-sounding.
Housewarming parties known as Jibdeuli are held in Korea. Invitees to a Jibdeuli generally bring toilet paper and detergent which are interestingly thought to be symbols of prosperity due to them being expensive items in the past.
A ceremony called “Sen Wai Jour Teen” is held before moving into a new home in Thailand. Apparently, the ceremony is so as to let the spirits know that someone is moving into the house and to ask for their protection. The ceremony includes offerings of food, water, flowers and incense. The offerings are meant to appease the spirits and thereby bring good fortune to the family members.
Another Thai ritual is held at about 10:00 in the morning- rice water and a knife are bought by guests due to their symbolic meaning – rice and water symbolize a good and prosperous life whereas the knife is meant to protect the family from evil spirits.
It is hard to point to a ritual in the United States due to it being such a melting pot of cultures and peoples. Each culture has their own ritual but one common act is the bringing of a cake to the new home owners as a way of introducing oneself to them.
Rivkah Abrahams writes for Ajudaica.com blog. Learn about welcome home-warming ceremony items used by jewish Israelies visit the following Ajudaica.com art category. Share your view on “You Don’t Have To Be Religious To Learn How To Enter These Homes” in the comment section below.