House blessing gifts from around the globe are as varied and distinctive as the thousands of cultures that inhabit planet Earth. Despite this great variety, most gifts fit into common categories, and many have the same intent – to symbolically endow the owners of the new home with wishes of peace and prosperity. Although you may never know about every house blessing tradition on the face of the planet, you can take inspiration from the customs of cultures around the world.
Few items symbolize wishes of goodwill more directly and universally than food. In Italy, the gift of bread coveys your wishes that the home's family never goes hungry. Likewise, wine symbolizes the wish that they never go thirsty. The tradition of giving bread, salt and sugar – common among Jewish and Russian cultures – is also rife with symbols: bread so the homeowners know no hunger, salt so their lives have flavor and sugar to bring sweetness. Across cultures, cookies, cakes, candies, chocolates and nuts make for universal housewarming gifts, while the pineapple serves as an age-old symbol of hospitality.
In the Jewish tradition, religious items such as a mezuzah and Shabbat candlesticks serve as meaningful house blessing gifts, while Irish homeowners may appreciate items inscribed with traditional Irish house blessings or old Celtic sayings. As an alternative to gifts, religious organizations from Catholics to Anglicans to Buddhists offer house blessing services – some even work with real-estate companies, offering blessing services to new homeowners before they move in.
Across many cultures, plants and flowers bless the home, as they represent livelihood, fertility and growth. For house blessing plants, the Japanese often turn to bonsais, cherry blossoms and daisies, while Indian cultures offer white or yellow potted plants. In Germany, acorn-themed decor acts as a protective symbol against evil spirits. In lands as diverse as China, India and Italy, candles bless the home as a symbol of light and warmth.
Europeans often give brooms as a housewarming or blessing gift; this utilitarian present not only keeps the house clean, it is said to “sweep away” bad luck and evil spirits. Similarly, baskets serve as useful containers and, in many traditions, are thought to catch the worries and stresses of the homeowners. In the Buddhist house blessing rite of Khuan Ban Mai practiced in Thailand, the homeowners bestow the monks who have blessed their home with gifts such as flowers, candles and incense, but they also give them necessary items such as soap, food and grooming supplies.
- ItaliansRUs.com: Traditional House Warming Gifts
- TheStar.com: 'Tis the Season When Many of Us Bless Our Homes
- Challah Connection Kosher Gift Baskets: Housewarming Gift Giving and Jewish Tradition
- TempleofThai.com: A Thai Housewarming – Family, Friends and Food
- Veterans United Realty: Forget the Toaster: 7 Symbolic Housewarming Gifts
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