Moving is a major life event, and a lot can go wrong. That’s why countries and cultures around the world rely on rituals to increase the odds of a lucky start in a new home.
Here are 10 moving traditions and superstitions from around the world:
In India, it’s important to choose an auspicious day for your move and finish moving before sunset, said Vishal Vashisht, a Hindu priest who runs a travel site and does moving consultations.
“Examples of auspicious days are the first day of the lunar calendar, a full moon night and the day of a major festival such as Diwali,” he said.
In Russia, it’s considered good luck to let a cat walk across the threshold of your new home before you move in. This ritual is so important that one Russian bank decided to offer a loaner cat for two hours to any customer who takes out a mortgage.
When leaving your new home for the first time, you must go out through the same door you went in, said Harriet Jones, cleaning and maintenance supervisor for Go Cleaners in London.
“If you don’t follow this ritual, Irish people believe it is bad luck,” she said. “However, this applies only to the first time you leave the house.”
In many countries, including England, it’s tradition to replace your old broom before moving into a new place.
“Along with your old home’s dirt, traditions say that old brooms also carry troubles and negative energy,” said Lauren Haynes, a cleaning expert with Star Domestic Cleaners in London. “Buying a new one assures you a fresh and clean start at your new place.”
When writer Jesus Chairez moved from Texas to Mexico, he noticed aloe plants in front of houses and was told they “ward off mala vibra, negative energy.” He got an aloe plant and, after a visit by an acquaintance who said she was jealous of his nice home and that she “hated” him, the plant died.
On the advice of his landlady, he threw the plant away outside his home and immediately bought a new one. He said the plant sucks up bad vibes “like a magnet.”
It’s common in Scotland and other countries for family and friends to bring bread and salt to a new house as gifts.
“They’re supposed to represent two cupboard staples that every new house needs,” said Max Robinson of Removal Services Scotland, a moving company.
“Some people will then take the salt and scatter it throughout the house, paying close attention to the windows and doors, as this is supposed to ward off evil spirits from entering the home,” he said.
In the Philippines, when you’re moving into a new place, you might sprinkle coins around on the living room floor to bring financial good fortune to the home. In fact, Jones said the company she works for had a contract with a Filipino landlord who did the ritual in every property. She once asked why.
“It’s a national tradition,” he told her.
Another important moving day tradition is to enter with rice and salt before bringing anything else into the home.
Some practitioners of feng shui use the Native American ritual of smudging when moving into a new home.
“I advise space clearing the home upon moving in to clear energy from the previous owners,” said feng shui expert Tisha Morris.
She recommends that you first set an intention. Then use sage, bells or smudge spray to clear the air. Finally, bring in new energy with a blessing, mantra or prayer, she said.
It’s an old tradition in the South and other parts of the United States to paint your porch ceiling light blue. This particular shade of light greenish blue is known as “haint blue” and is said to prevent “haints,” or lingering spirits of the dead, from getting into the house.
House warming parties are common to many countries and cultures, and they can involve much more than just showing up with a bottle of wine. For example, a house warming in Thailand involves inviting an odd number of monks to your new home and offering them food and gifts, such as biscuits, detergent and a banana leaf vase filled with flowers. The monks perform a ceremony and sprinkle holy water around the home.
If you want to increase your odds of a lucky move, consider adopting one or more of these rituals to bless your new place and life.