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Housewarming Traditions from Around the World

Established 1999
21 December 2022 by Northwest Mortgage

Today, we’re looking at different ways to welcome your friends, family, and neighbors to your new home in different parts of the world!

Welcoming loved ones and new relations to your new home is a common practice across the world, commonly known here in the USA as a “housewarming party.” It gives everyone the chance to celebrate new beginnings and a job-well-done for the move. 

Here’s how the move and traditional after-party is held around the world:

Europe, Baltic, & Slavic countries

In Europe and many Slavic or Baltic countries, giving bread and salt is a traditional welcoming ceremony, both for housewarmings and for welcoming guests. The practice’s origins are disputed, but it’s now widely practiced across many countries and cultural practices. Giving bread and salt has even worked its way into literature, such as in the infamous “Red Wedding” scene from the popular TV show Game of Thrones

The bread and salt, in addition to being delicious, are also symbolic. Gifting bread is to ensure that those in the house will not go hungry, gifting salt ensures that life is always full of flavor. Some countries also include either honey or sugar, so that life will be sweet. 

So if you’re at a loss as to what you should bring to a friend’s housewarming party, bring some bread and salt! It will at least be a conversation starter - and who doesn’t love bread or use salt for something, anyway? 


In France, according to My-french-house, a housewarming party is called the “pendaison de crémaillère,” or "crémaillère" for short, which means “hanging of the chimney hook.” You might be thinking, “what the heck is a chimney hook, I don’t have one of those!”. Well, in ye olden times, the chimney hook was a hook meant to hold the cooking pot over a fire. The hook was then raised and lowered to control the temperature during cooking. 

When a house was built, the hanging of the chimney hook was the very last task and signified that the house was finished. The host then cooked a meal to thank everyone who contributed to its building (traditionally). Nowadays, a crémaillère is a familiar scene: new homeowners welcome friends, family, and perhaps neighbors, some of whom come bringing gifts to furnish the house.


In Thailand, a Khuan Ban Mai is a traditional blessing of a new house that combines Buddhist traditions with social values and customs. 

A group of buddhist monks will determine an auspicious day for the ceremony, then will bless the house and its inhabitants with prayers, holy thread, and holy water throughout the morning. After the ceremony, the host will offer gifts to the monks to thank them for their time and blessings (such as candles, flowers, and necessities that will be good for their temple). 

When the monks leave, the family and friends of the homeowners will gather together for lunch. Curry and Thai vermicelli (long noodles made from mung beans) is popular, with the noodles representing longevity, along with a variety of sweets. Desserts with the word “thong” or “golden” are the favorites, since the word promises wealth. 


Did you know that traditional feng shui doesn’t just apply to interior design? Because for traditional Chinese homeowners, the rules of feng shui can come into play when they purchase a new home. 

Feng shui in China actually applies to much, much more than interior design; it’s the practice of harmonizing an individual with their environment so that energy can flow and bring blessings throughout an area. Principles of feng shui can be used to determine everything from the most auspicious color for a particular room to the house’s  placement on the land itself. 

The rules of feng shui are many and varied, ranging from dictating details about the move-in itself, how guests should enter the house, and what gifts are appropriate to give to the new homeowners. One of those rules is, you guessed it, for the host to host a housewarming party! By cooking in the kitchen, the host is indicating to the kitchen gods that they and their family will be living there.

Here are a few other feng shui rules for a new house: 

  • Burn incense in the new house the day before moving in to expel evil spirits. 
  • On moving day, no one should enter the house empty-handed. Whether they bring valuables or necessities (like a rice jar or quilt), they must have something in-hand to show that fortune will follow the new homeowners. 
  • The master bedroom should be set up ASAP - and as quickly as possible! The quicker the room is set up in proper order, the better your prospects in life will be. After that, the other beds should be set up in short order. 
  • After everything is moved into the new house, two posters of the door gods will be affixed to the house’s front door. Entrants will hold a cup of rice wine, bow to the gods three times, then flick wine onto the posters to show their respect to the gods. 


For those of you who have pet cats, a Russian tradition might catch your eye. According to Russian customs, it is considered good luck to let a cat cross the threshold of your new house before any other people - even the homeowners!

The practice is evidently popular enough that Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, allowed mortgage holders in 2014 to rent a cat for 2 hours so that the cat could walk over their new house’s threshold. 

Ready to host a housewarming party of your own, but don’t know how to get a loan for that new house? Contact Northwest Mortgage!