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Interesting house warming rituals from around the world

Whether you are buying villas in Baner or investing in a resale flat at Dombivili West, moving into a new home is an exciting time, as you shop for new furniture, browse decor magazines and dream of the different ideas to enhance your dream home. The prospect of new neighbours, new friends and a new setting, fills us up with joy and hope.

An important aspect of moving into a new home is moving rituals that help usher in the auspicious and diffuse the negative. In India, the house-warming ceremony begins with a puja to Lord Ganesha and the breaking of a coconut to clear all obstacles in the way of the auspicious event. The rite also includes cutting a pumpkin that has been coated with kumkum, with the pieces left as an offering in the eight cardinal directions (north, south, east and west or north-east, south-east, north-west and south-west) of the house. Milk and rice which signify purity and long life, are then boiled on a stove and caused to overflow from the pot. This signifies an overflow of wealth coming into the house.

China

Once you have selected an auspicious date to move after referring to the Chinese calendar, you can move into your new house on the appointed day and hour carrying all documents of relevance to the family such as sales agreement, marriage certificate, bank accounts etc. Chinese also carry a container filled with rice and with two red pockets inside. This ritual helps to invite wealth and fortune.

The lady of the house enters the kitchen with the five essentials to ensure a stable supply of food on the table. They are a bottle each of cooking oil, soy sauce and vinegar plus a packet of salt and sugar. She also puts up the fresh flowers arrangement in the living room area. This may include Orchids (representing purity), Magnolia (for nobility) and Lily (of good fortune and desires). On the auspicious time, the bed is made to ensure happiness and lights are brought in and sounds are played to bring about vitality and prosperity.

Korea

In Korea people organise housewarming parties known as Jipdeuri where the new tenants hold a ritual to thank the spirits and pray for good luck and fortune in their new home. In the evening, they invite guests for a feast. People would come with gifts of matches or candles so the new home would light up with good fortune and happiness. Traditionally, men would enter through the front door while women would enter in the back.

Russia

Russians believe that letting a cat into the house before you move in brings happiness and luck to your home. There is also a tradition of sweeping the new home with rock salt, which is believed to release negative energy.

France

The house warming ceremony in France is called “pendre la crémaillère”. This party signifies the hanging of the crémaillère (trammel, a metallic hook that is hung in a fireplace to hang a kettle.). In the middle ages, the trammel was the last thing fixed in the house, so when it was hung, people could cook a meal to thank whoever had helped with the building of the house. Guests usually bring a present for the house, either individually, or else they chip in.

Lakshmi Datta Arun for IndiaProperty.com

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