Philippine customs run deep, and it is no different when a person or family is about to move into a new house. In fact, the customs begin even before the house is even considered for purchase. For instance, many people in the Philippines will not buy a house that is directly at a "T" intersection because it signifies that you will always be pushed; they also count the steps to the house, and 13 steps is "bilang Hudas" (bad luck).
Blessing the House
The initial reception for a housewarming functions more as a blessing for the house. No furniture is moved in yet. Friends and celebrants (sometimes a mass choir) must enter through the front doors. Blessings are bestowed upon the house by cutting the throat of at least one chicken and spreading the blood over floors and walls.
The homeowner also performs his own blessing by throwing coins on housewarming day to bring luck. According to The Philippine Star newspaper, "The house blessing also included the customary tossing of coins which is a very Filipino tradition that signifies the shower of blessings and the spirit of sharing luck. This custom is typically observed at house blessings or housewarming parties where new dwellers open their house to relatives, guests, and neighbors."
Setting up House
Once the house is ready to be moved into, the rice comes in first. Everything else, like furniture, clothes and electronics, come later. While the house is being unpacked and set up, the east windows are open "to let God's grace in"; more coins are put into the cornerstone of house or below the master bedroom; and finally, a statue of Christ the King, Sacred Heart of Jesus or Immaculate Heart of Mary (sometimes all three) is set around the house.
Once the blessings are done, the real party begins. More guests arrive -- always through the front door -- and take part in spit-roasting pigs or cattle, karaoke and unpacking/settling the new house. Everyone pitches in. The unpacking stage of the housewarming goes on for days.
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