Chinese moving house ceremony
Since it’s believed that harmony and a blissful family life starts from the day one move into a new come it’s important to pick an auspicious day to move into a new home. A moving in ceremony is also performed to ward off any wandering spirits that might be lingering in the new home and to bring good luck and safety to the family.
First, some pomelo leaves are soaked in water for a couple of hours and then sprayed around the whole house starting from the left side when you enter the home, moving in clockwise direction through all the rooms. A prayer is made to request the spirits to kindly leave. Chinese believe that taking a bath with pomelo leaves will help wash away all the bad luck from the person. Three joss sticks are burned at the four corners of the living room and five in the middle accompanied with some offering – a whole chicken with head and tail, oranges, some wine, and a prayer made to invite the three gods to come and bless the new home and bring good luck and safety to the new occupants of the home. A pair of mens trousers are then hung in the closet so good luck and prosperity will be brought to the head of the household.
Next, it’s time to make the bed and a red packet is put under the pillow -it’s believed that it will bring the occupants a good night’s rest. It’s important to turn on the stove to boil some water and switch on the fan – water signifies wealth and prosperity and switching on the fan helps to circulate all the good fortune in the new home.
My mother is self proclaimed as superstitious and has performed these traditions to make her feel more comfortable in the new environment of a house. She learned about the proper way to perform the ceremony whilst in HK. My mom first did the customs as a blessing in the 1990s when our family was moving into a new house in the Peak. She also heard a little about it as a kid but did not think much of it until she was older and had a family. The main driving force for practicing these traditions is for peace of mind and was done every time we moved homes.
I have never witnessed my mother doing any of these practices. I have seen multiple feng shui professionals come through though. They survey the room and tell the family where bad energy is coming from and sometimes how to arrange the furniture. This is the only form of housewarming I was aware of.
Spirits and energy are very influential to the Chinese, which in turn makes them pretty superstitious. They strongly believe in an after life, thus always seeking to please them. Prayers are said to both the gods and their ancestors to please them and hope they will give them a peaceful afterlife. It is customary to always include ancestors in the ceremonies, paying homage to them and showing appreciation of their heritage. Doing this also brings the living family together, thus strengthening the family kinship.
These particular housewarming traditions are native to Southeast Asia. This is because the pomelo fruit is only found in tropic areas like Fiji, Malaysia, and Thailand. Now, however, it is grown commercially around the world but since it is out of its natural habitat it is more expensive. It is comparable to a western grapefruit and becomes a yellowish green when ripe. My mother told me that the Chinese word for pomelo basically means blessing. This is the reason why it is used as an auspicious fruit during many ceremonies and traditions.