Old Traditions to Make Your New House Into a Home

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All around the world, people have traditions about moving into new homes. It’s an exciting time — it could be your first home or your tenth. But most traditions seem to focus on making the house “ready” for the new occupants. Neighbours might welcome you with a cake or a pot plant. You might feel the urge to open the windows and “air the place out”. But what’s really going on?

Firstly, many traditions are actually about getting rid of bad spirits or bad vibes. Is there something hanging around from previous owners that needs to be cleansed? A ghost perhaps? Try sage “smudging”, where you light a bunch of dried sage, blow out the flame and waft the smoke around every room. This is said to be a Native American tradition, but there are similar rituals in other cultures.

You could ring a bell in every room — first open the windows and doors though, so when you chase the spirits out, they have plenty of exits. If you live in the American South, once you’ve cleansed the house, you need to paint your porch blue to keep them out. It’s called “haint” blue (haint is another word for haunt), and as blue symbolizes water, which spirits can’t cross, you are literally painting your porch as an uncrossable barrier.

In Germany and Norse traditions, acorns help to keep evil spirits at bay — people would line their window…

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Sherryl Clark - writer, editor, poet.

Writer, editor, book lover — I've published many children's books and three crime novels for adults so far. I edit other people's fiction and poetry.