Taking the first step into a new home is one of the most exciting moments of a person’s life. It represents the culmination of the blood, sweat, tears, and not to mention money, spent over the past months or even years.
And after all that hard work and waiting, the last thing you’d want to do is spread all the negative juju from your previous house all over your brand new home. In fact, you’ll probably want to drive out any existing bad spirits tracked in by the previous owners or contractors.
So if you’re looking for inspiration on house blessing techniques, here are a few unique traditions practised around the world that you might want to consider.
Rolling a pineapple into your home
There are a multitude of Chinese customs and rituals that accompany moving into a new home, so it’s almost impossible to distill it into one universal custom. But for Singaporean Chinese, rolling a pineapple into the new home is an absolute must-do.
And what exactly does rolling the prickly fruit around your home achieve? Well, apart from picking up errant dust on the floor, it’s believed to bring in prosperity, wealth and joy into your new home!
This tradition stems from the fact that the Hokkien pronunciation for pineapple is “Ong Lai”, which is a homonym for “Welcoming Prosperity”.
It’s basically a blessing and dessert rolled into one!
Blessing from Thai monks
‘Khuan Ban Mai’ (ขึ้นบ้านใหม่), or the blessing of a new house, is celebrated by the Thai people to celebrate the completion of a new home, and is meant to attract good fortune and prosperity to the home and its inhabitants.
On a predetermined auspicious day, the owner of the home will invite an odd number of monks (an even number would be considered unlucky) into their home to perform a house blessing ceremony on the host’s home and their invited guests. As part of the ceremony, the monks sprinkle holy water on the host, the guests and throughout the house as well. The members of the household also receive a holy thread, or ‘Sai Seen’, to tie around their wrists.
At the end of the ceremony, the guests are then treated to food and dessert that are meant to symbolise good tidings like longevity, wealth and prosperity. Vermicelli, for example, is a popular choice of food as its length is thought to represent longevity, and therefore meant to encourage the long life of the host.
Smudging is a Native American custom thought to help clear negative energy from a room or space. It involves the burning of herbs such as sage, cedar or sweetgrass, around the home.
The practice appears to have grounding in science as well, as the burning of sage and other herbs apparently releases negative ions which (despite the name) has been linked to a more positive mood.
Smudging involves lighting the herbs, and gently blowing it out, allowing the smoke to waft throughout the home to chase out bad energy.
The type of herb burned is also believed to have different effects as well. Sage is particularly useful for shifting ‘stuck’ energy, cedar is used to neutralise negativity or shift heavy emotional energy, while sweetgrass dispels negative thoughts.
If you decide to go with a smudging to purify your home, we recommend you disable any smoke alarms in the home so your blessing isn’t interrupted by the sudden arrival of firemen at your doorstep.
Bringing a cow through the home
Much like Chinese customs, there isn’t a singular ritual performed across India – it all depends largely on the ethnicity or religion of the home owner.
One of the more interesting house blessing rituals, however, is the leading of a cow through the home. This is practiced mainly in Tamil Nadu, where the cow is led through all the rooms of the home by the priest, and its milk boiled in the kitchen. If the cow urinates or defecates in the house, that’s not a problem – it’s in fact seen as an added blessing, or good omen, for the family!
While it’s pretty rare in Singapore, it does happen from time to time. In fact, this ritual caused quite a stir recently when Singaporeans caught sight of a fully-grown cow entering a lift at an HDB block in Yishun!
Purification with Holy Water
Religion plays an enormous role in the lives of Filipinos, with almost 90% of its population being adherents of Christianity. Accordingly, it’s very important to most Filipinos to have their homes blessed by priests before they officially move in.
As part of the house blessing ritual, a priest conducts a short mass by sprinkling holy water into each nook and cranny of the home. The holy water is meant to purify the dwelling, and protect it from any harm.
The hosts will usually invite close family, friends and neighbours to the blessing, and these attendees will carry lit candles and scatter gold coins and candies throughout the house, which is meant to symbolise and usher in abundance and prosperity.
Do you or your friends and family practice any other type of house blessing ritual? Be sure to share your experiences in our comments section below!