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Housewarming Traditions Across the Globe

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Housewarming Traditions Across the Globe

The tradition of giving a gift to people moving into a new home dates back centuries in countries across the globe. And no, it hasn’t always been about a bottle of wine, or dare we say it, a new pot-plant. Blending practical with tradition, and even superstition, we take a look at housewarming gifts around the world in years gone by, and at home in 2015.

The origins

While there are no firm details on the exact origins of the housewarming, one of the most popular stories suggests it began with a Russian villager, who would greet new arrivals (or travelling dignitaries depending on the version of the tale) with a gift of a loaf of bread and pinch of salt. The bread was meant to symbolise good health and the salt stood for a long life. The idea apparently took off, because housewarming traditions have been popular in Europe, Asia, America and elsewhere now for hundreds of years.

A house blessing

Many housewarming traditions have to do with the ‘blessing’ of the house, the general idea being that the home then becomes a safe and secure haven for the family. Generally this involves prayers to God or the deity of the chosen culture. In Ireland, there might be prayers with a new plaque hung to commemorate the occasion. In India, a major ceremony called Griha Pravesh is performed, and the exact time and date of the move is planned for the most beneficial day. And in Thailand, the multi-day blessing is performed by Buddhist monks, with housewarming gifts of food, money and items symbolising Buddha. White paint is applied to the house doors to help purify the home, and ward off evil spirits.

Gift for the new home

Bread with salt has remained a popular housewarming gift in many cultures in Europe, symbolising not only good health but a full pantry. Another popular food item in Europe is honey, which represents a sweet life. And in Jewish tradition, guests give bread not with honey, but sugar. Other items that have been given across the years include coins (for good fortune), candles (for light and happiness), wine (for joy and good cheer) and brooms (to sweep away evil spirits).

Add your own housewarming tradition in 2015

While tradition may be lovely, housewarming gifts today don’t need to be tied down by expectation. A gift box of gorgeous items always makes a beautiful and practical present. For example, our ever-so-lovely New Home Collection box features a beautifully sleek teapot, creamer and teacups, designed and made in Portugal from contemporary cork and earthenware (to keep the tea at the perfect temperature). It’s a stunning addition to any new home.

And if you’re looking for more personalised gifts for men and women that celebrate their big move, rather than something just for the house, we have a selection of beautifully curated boxes that are equally enticing. 

The housewarming gift is a traditional likely to live on, even if the type of gifts we give change with the times.