House blessings (also known as house healings, house clearings, house cleansings and space clearing) are rites intended to protect the inhabitants of a house or apartment from misfortune, whether before moving into it or to “heal” it after an occurrence. Many religions have house blessings of one form or another.
See also: Prayers For Blessing A House
In Christianity, house blessing is an ancient tradition, that can be found in Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, and some branches of Protestantism. In Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Methodism and Orthodoxy, they are usually performed by a pastor who may sprinkle holy water (depending on denominational tradition) as he walks through every room of the house, accompanied by the occupants of the house, whilst praying for the occupants.
House blessings date back to the early days of Christianity, and in Catholicism, the rite takes the form of a prayer, with intercessions and several benedictions. Blessed salt and incense may also be used. The Methodist The Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965) contains “An Office for the Blessing of a Dwelling”. Matthew 2:11 says:
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”
Consequently, Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Orthodox Christians often have their homes blessed at Epiphany, on January 6; this blessing often starts with the Christian custom of chalking the door and prayer at the home altar. The custom of the Epiphanytide house blessing commemorates the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus. The rite may also be accompanied by a home enthronement, although this is a separate ceremony and is more focused on the consecration of the occupants of the home.
House blessings in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country take the form of printed cards, framed and hung on the walls of the sitting room, and trace their origins to similar practices in The Netherlands and Belgium. Blessings, employed by Catholics and Protestants alike, usually incorporate a picture of Christ’s crucifixion and a prayer “to the Sweet Name of Jesus and His dear saints”. Many of these were printed in Belgium, and Turnhout.
In Alsace, such blessings have origins in the Pestbriefe (pestilence letters) of the Middle Ages, sold at fairs to those wishing to protect themselves from disease, and the Feuerbriefe (fire letters) brought back by pilgrims from Cologne and containing prayers to the Three Kings (usually with the letters “CMB”, for Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, incorporated somewhere into the design) for protecting their homes from fire and disaster. Other blessings, found in Alsace and brought to Pennsylvania, include blessings of the entranceway to a house, stable blessings invoking Saint Leonard or Saint Blasius, blessings against Feuer und Brand addressed to Saint Agatha, and even blessings for house pets addressed to Saint Florentius.
Perform a Christian blessing
The blessing of a Christian household is an ancient tradition which can be found in the Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches, amongst others. The blessing may be performed by an ordained priest or pastor, or by the owner of the house themselves.
- If you would prefer to have your house blessed by an ordained priest, invite him to your house to perform the blessing, and he will be happy to oblige.
- Normally, the priest will walk from room to room, sprinkling each with holy water. As he walks, he may recite one or more passages from the holy gospel.
- If you prefer to bless the house yourself, use anointing oil (which can simply be cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, blessed by a minister) to mark a cross on each of the windows and doors inside the house.
- As you mark the sign of the cross, utter a simple prayer asking God to bless the room. For example “In the name of Jesus Christ I ask for Your peace and joy to inhabit this room,” or “May Your Holy Spirit flow through and fill this home up with Your Spirit.”
In the Hinduism, a house blessing is conducted always before the people move in. With a new house, this is after construction is finished, but in a purchased house it will be done after purchase but before moving in. The blessing is performed by a Hindu priest and varies greatly throughout India. In Gujarat, the blessing mainly consists of performing abhisheka to a murti, often of Lord Ganesha, which is performed by the house-holders while the priest chants mantras. In Tamil Nadu, the traditional house blessing comprises the chanting of mantras, the escorting of a cow through all of the rooms, and (finally) the boiling of some of the cow’s milk in the kitchen. Cow urine (komiyam) is also used for bathing.
Perform a Hindu blessing
Hindu house blessings vary greatly according to different regions. In some places the housewarming ceremony is second in importance only to a couple’s wedding day.
- However, across all regions the house blessing must be performed on the morning the homeowners move into their new home. An auspicious move-in date must be chosen by the local Hindu priest, who must also perform the ceremony.
- On the day, it is traditional (in some regions) for the homeowners to supply a gift tray or dakshina for the priest’s use throughout the ceremony. This gift tray usually contains items such as raw, washed rice, mango leaves, ghee, coins, herbs, spices, fruit and flowers, among others.
- During the ceremony, the homeowners will often sit in front of the fireplace, wearing their best clothes and repeating mantras. The priest will usually recite a prosperity prayer to the Hindu gods, asking for prosperity, purity and serenity to be bestowed upon the people of the house.
- Contact a priest at your local Hindu temple for information on how the housewarming ceremony is performed in your region.
The Kojangi house blessing ceremony requires one fresh whole red fish, rice with azuki beans (sekihan), a small bottle of sake, an unopened bag of rice, and a new bag of rock salt.`
In the Gurung culture of Nepal most families have a house blessing twice a year in March and October performed by a Lama priest. At the October blessing a new set of prayer flags are hung at the house (typically on a bamboo pole) with a blessing scarf tied at the top of the prayer flags and a mixture of grains in a bag tied at the bottom.
Perform a Buddhist blessing
In Buddhism, a ceremony known as Khuan Ban Maiis performed (in certain regions) when a new house is built to protect the house and its inhabitants. The ceremony is performed by a group of nine monks, who must be invited to the house early on the morning of the ceremony.
- The monks then perform a ritual involving sacred lustral water and wax candles. As the wax melts and drops into the water, it is believed to wash away evil and sorrow.
- The monks also chant prayers in the Pali language, while passing a white string through each of their hands. The vibrations from the chanted prayers are believed to pass through the string, protecting the houses and its inhabitants.
- After the ceremony, the monks sit down to a meal prepared by the host family and their friends and neighbors.They must finished their meal before noon. Then one monk sprinkles holy water in each of the rooms of the house, before they all leave.
- Once the monks leave, the rest of the guests sit down to eat the remaining food. In the afternoon, they perform the thread ceremony, where the guests wrap a white thread around the homeowners and offer them their blessing.
Perform a Jewish blessing
There are an abundance of Jewish traditions associated with moving into a new house, or simply blessing an old one.
- When moving into a new home, Jewish families are required to affix a mezuzah(parchment inscribed with Hebrew phrases from the Torah) to each of the doorways in the house.
- As the mezuzah is installed, the following prayer is recited “Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix a mezuzah”.
- It is also believed that Tuesday is the best day for moving into a new home, that bread and salt should be the first items to enter the house, and that shortly after moving in a Chanukat Habayit or housewarming party should be held, where friends and family gather and words of the Torah are spoken.
- During the housewarming party, it’s tradition to eat the first fruit of the new season while reciting the shehecheyanu blessing, as follows: “Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.”
Perform an Islamic blessing
Muslim people bless their house mainly by reciting prayers – usually there is no official ceremony that needs to be performed. However, certain prayers and traditions are recommended:
- Upon moving into a new house, it is a good idea to perform a two cycle prayer, asking Allah to bestow baraka (blessing), rahma, (mercy) and dhikr (remembrance) upon the home.
- You can also recite a prayer to protect your home from the evil eye and the envy of others using the following Prophetic Supplication: “I seek refuge for you in the perfect words of Allah from every devil, harmful thing, and accusing eye.”
- It is also recommended that you invite your friends and family over for dinner, as feeding others is viewed as a charitable act, and a way of showing gratitude to Allah. At this dinner, you and your guests may recite passages from the Qur’an together.
- Aside from blessing your house when you first move in, you can also bless your house every time you step through the door using the following prayer: “I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from the evil of that which He has created”. Repeating this prayer three times will ensure no harm comes to you while you are in the house.