Bless This Home: Rituals for New Homes

When I've moved into new homes, the closest thing to a ceremonial ritual I've practiced is a pizza dinner on the floor. But whether by custom or religious faith, many do something more to get their new place off to the best start. Here are a few ceremonies that are practiced:

  • Jewish: Once moved in, a Chanukat Habayit is held to make the house into a home. This involves gathering everyone outside the door, where they meditate upon good blessings for the home. The home's owner hangs a mezuzah at the entry, and bread is served with salt (symbolizing a life of holiness), oil (sustenance), and/or honey (sweetness). There is singing and a blessing is said over the house, making it the sacred space of the home.
  • Buddhist: Khuan Ban Mai is the blessing of a newly-constructed house. It involves friends, family, and Buddhist monks gathering in the morning and finishing around noon, when food is offered and gifts are given to the monks. During the ceremony, holy water is sprinkled throughout the house and thread is entwined around the wrist of each household member and the Buddha of the home's shrine.
  • Hindu: In India, the Hindu housewarming, called the Griha Pravesh, marks the first entry into the home. The exact date is set by the fortune desired (wealth or children, for example). Only after the Griha Pravesh is complete can the family move into the home.
  • Christian: A formal house blessing is performed by a pastor or a priest. Christian scrupture also states that a layperson may lead the dedication. Prayers are said and God is asked to be present in the home. Food prepared by the household is often served to guests and the clergy performing the ceremony.

Do you practice any rituals when setting up a new home? Are they like any of the rituals described above? If so, please add to our descriptions or tell us about your own practices in the comments below!

Sources: This Ritual LIfe, Temple of Thai, India Parenting, Inspire Magazine

Image: Temple of Thai

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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