Indian Customs Before Entering a New Home

Entering a new house signifies an incredible beginning in your life and each one of us would want to start on a happy note with positive energy. To have a great start in the new abode people all around the world believe in aplenty housewarming rituals that are purported to bring good luck to the home. From lighting candles your first night at home and burning sage to boiling milk and prepping meals, there is no end to the list of rituals people have used to break in their new digs.

In India moving into a new home is considered only second in ceremonial importance to that of a wedding, and many acts are performed to bless the home and ward off evil spirits. You may be familiar with some of the much-believed-rituals but some might surprise you.

We’ve master-crafted a list of the most essential prerequisites of an auspicious move to your new home.

Pick an auspicious date and time

The first thing that you need to do is ask a learned priest to pick out the best suitable date and time to perform the most important rituals before you set foot inside your new house. It is believed that the time when the ceremony is performed is extremely crucial to get the best out of the ritual and to ward off evil spirits.

Perform Vastu Puja (Architectural worship)

According to Vastu Shastra ‘Science of architecture,’ a house has to be constructed following some specific principles to integrate architecture with nature otherwise it might be a magnet to evil forces. To eliminate any fault the house might have incurred due to flaws in the design and construction, the family is recommended to perform a fire ritual on the threshold of the new home as fire embodies warm feelings and spiritual guidance.

Right is right

We’ve been prejudiced for centuries that anything in the right side is always correct and have bias opinion to something on the left. Possibly derived from this perception the Indian custom states, the first footstep inside the house ought to be your right foot for a good omen.

Perform Griha Pravesh Puja (First entry into the house ceremony)

It is important to perform a traditional Vedic Griha Pravesh Puja to ensure everything goes well and to sanctify the home from any inauspiciousness. For this ceremony, a shrine room is prepared with a picture of a deity and a small oil lamp in the north-east direction of the house. Griha Pravesh is usually centred on Lord Ganesh (the elephant-headed god), who is regarded as the protector of mankind and the one who bestows good fortune and riches to a family.

Boiling milk

The ritual that follows the Griha Pravesh ceremony is boiling milk until it spills over the rim of a new open-pot. This symbolizes the abundance of prosperity and food which will bless the house. A glass of that milk is then offered to God and the rest of it is served to the family members. This gesture signifies that both joys and sorrows are to be shared amongst the family member.

Precautionary measure to ward off negative forces

Fresh chilies and limes are threaded together on the front doorway to protect the home and family off any undesirable intentions or ‘evil eye’ that may be brought to the house by visitors or strangers.

These rituals help make your home a haven. After all:

“Home is where love resides,

where memories are created.

friends are always welcome

and laughter never ends.”

The basic visiting etiquette when visiting a mosque in Malaysia

As you enter Putrajaya, the federal administrative capital of Malaysia, you are bound to notice the pink-domed Putra Mosque sitting right on the foreshore of the man-made Putrajaya Lake.

The iconic mosque was named after Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj, who was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. The mosque is well-known throughout the country for its exquisite architecture, intricate designs and rose-tinted granite.

Mosque etiquette

Before you visit the mosque, or any particular mosque in particular, I recommend you to learn some of the basic visiting etiquettes to make your visit a pleasant and worthwhile experience.

  • Visitors are required to dress appropriately at all times.
  • Visitors are required to remove their shoes before they enter the prayer hall.
  • Menstruating women are requested not to enter the prayer hall.
  • Visitors are requested to respect the mosque by maintaining cleanliness.
  • Smoking is strictly prohibited.
  • Non-Muslim visitors may not be allowed into the prayer hall during the 5 daily prayers.

As one of the two mosques located in Putrajaya, the Putra Mosque remains to be one of the most visited mosques in the country. Built in 1997, the mosque’s architectural design is derived from traditional Malay and Middle Eastern elements. Its impressive minaret also happens to be one of the tallest minarets in the region and was influenced by the design of the Sheikh Omar Mosque in Baghdad. Due to the sheer size of the mosque, the mosque can accommodate more than 10,000 worshippers at any one time.

The Putra Mosque is generally accessible to the public however, visitors are required to adhere to a particular dress code. If a staff finds you inappropriately dressed, the staff will direct you to the robe counter located at the entrance to wear a robe. The robes look quite similar to graduation gowns, and it doesn’t cost you anything to put it on.

Like most mosques in Malaysia, the Putra Mosque consists of three main functional areas – the prayer hall, the courtyard and learning facilities and function rooms. For the best experience, make plans to visit the mosque during one of the 5 daily prayer times to observe how the Muslims pray in congregation.

If you are interested to know more about Islam, the mosque provides free leaflets in English and other languages to help you understand the religion better. If you are in luck, you may even get a volunteer guide to share with you in-depth information about the mosque as well as the role Islam has on a Muslim’s life.

While you are at the Putra Mosque, you should also visit the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, or more popularly known as the Steel Mosque.

Address Putra Mosque:

Putra Mosque, Persiaran Persekutuan, Presint 1, 62502 Putrajaya, Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya, Malaysia

Visiting hours:

Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (9.30am – 12.30pm, 2pm – 4pm) Friday (9.30am – 12.30pm, 3pm – 4pm, 5.30pm – 6pm)

Phone number:

+6 03 888 85678

Website:

http://www.masjidputra.gov.my/

 

Tagged : /

Indonesian Etiquette

How To Behave When Entering The Family Home

Imagine yourself being plunged into a very local Indonesian scenario, such as the family home of
your Indonesian friend or partner. You will undoubtedly be thinking ‘what should I do & not do?’

No Shoes Please

Let’s start with entering the house, firstly and foremost, take off your shoes or sandals, you don’t
want to be dragging dirt into the home of your host. Don’t worry it’s very common to be barefoot
in an Indonesian home, so no need to worry about the shape of your toenails or your odd socks!

Not a Handshake in Sight

When you come to greeting someone older than you then they will put out their right hand, don’t
presume to shake it, instead of a firm handshake you should kiss their hand and place it on your
forehead for a brief second. This is a very intimate way of greeting someone older, showing them
your instant respect and gratitude. If an individual is younger just hold out your right hand.

Titles for Individuals Older Than You

When the conversation gets underway, even if you can’t speak Indonesian Bahasa, there are
correct titles to use for whomever you are talking with. If you are talking with an older male call
him Bapak, whereas if you are talking with an older female you should call her Ibu. Calling
someone significantly older than you by their first name is a big no no, play safe and stick to
Bapak (Mr) or Ibu (Mrs).

Welcome Greetings

To earn you those ever desired extra brownie points learn the correct greeting when entering the
home of either a Muslim family or a Hindu family. A standard greeting for Muslims is Assalamu
Alaikum, this translates from Arabic to mean ‘peace be upon you’. A staggering 87% of
Indonesia’s population is Muslim so learning these two words will leave you in good stead. When
entering the house of a Hindu family it is courteous to say Om Suastiastu, this is most
appropriate for Bali and means ‘Hello’. Namaste is also a well know Hindu welcoming message.

Look the Part

Bearing in mind that Indonesia is a predominantly religious country make sure, for both males
and females, to cover your shoulders, chest and knees. Wearing a hat inside doesn’t prove to be
a big deal in Indonesia, however, it would be better to remove it just in case.

A Wonderful Homely Experience

I’m sure these etiquette tips for being a guest in the local Indonesian household will be useful
and benefit your trip. If you are yet to be welcomed into a local home of an Indonesian then
prepare yourself for a wonderful experience. As a guest, you will be presented snacks and
goodies to nibble on with coffee all round, much like the British tradition of a pot of tea with
biscuits. Don’t worry about saying or doing the wrong thing, as long as you are well intentioned
then your efforts will go down with smiles and an invitation back for dinner!

Image credit: David Christover

Tagged : / / / / /

Filipino Beliefs and Customs When Moving in to a New Home

I was eight when we moved in into our newly built house. Before we did, my grandmother who is very traditional briefed the entire family about the things to do and things to remember before moving in. She was also hands on in making sure we did certain things while the house was being constructed. Some of these were placing coins (for good wealth) and religious medals (to protect the family from evil) under each structural. My grandmother also made sure we moved in on a date with number 8 in it- 8, 18, 28. According to her, this will make sure we live harmoniously.

Filipino House Rules

Coins in very corner of the house

On the day we moved in, my dad carried a bowl of rice, my mom had a jar of salt, and my sister had a pitcher of water with rose petals on it. My mother made everyone drink water with rose petals and let us scatter coins in every corner of the house. We were reminded to never pick these coins ever; doing so would remove the financial luck of the family. I moved out ten years ago and the coins are still there until now.

You may be interested in: Why Doors & Stairs Directions Should Be Right (Not Left) in Philippines.

Sleep alone in your room for 9 days

I was so excited to invite my best friend for sleepover since I was proud of my new bedroom, but this was not allowed right away since it is believed that the number of people who slept in for the first night should be the same for the next nine days, otherwise, death will occur.

You may be interested in: Why The Master Bedroom Should Faces East in Philippines.

Plant a jackfruit tree

Few days after moving in, we planted a jackfruit tree in our front yard. Doing so would ensure a sweet life. Most Filipinos would plant fruit bearing trees on their front yard for this very reasons as well as it adds shade to the area. Trees that have sour fruits such as mangoes and lemon should be planted on the backyard.

Catholic house blessings

If your family are Catholic here in the Philippines, expect a house blessing either before moving in or few weeks after. A house blessing would entail having a priest come over and perform a ceremony. Every family member should attend the ceremony bearing candles. The priest, family members, and few guests (which always include grandparents, aunts, and uncles) would then tour around the house with their candles while the priest would sprinkle holy water everywhere in the house- no room would be excluded. After the ceremony, everyone would gather for a meal which would usually include lechon (roasted pig) and puso (hanging rice).

These are just few of the traditions and customs that we follow before moving in on a new house in the Philippines, especially if you live in a rural area. As a kid, I used to ask for explanations for all of this. Sometimes I will get answers, but mostly I will just get “just because”.

Tagged : / / / / /

House customs

Do’s: If you are a guest coming to somebody’s house, it is a polite thing not to take a seat before your host invite or offer you to have a seat. If it is in a house, guest should take the seat closest to the door facing the inside part of the house, while the host sit on the opposite facing out ward.


 

Save

Save

Tagged : / / /

Be seated

If you are a guest coming to somebody’s house, it is a polite thing not to take a seat before your host invites or offers you to have a seat. If it is in a house, guest should take the seat closest to the door facing the inside part of the house, while the host sit on the opposite facing out ward.

Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Open your umbrella

Do not open an umbrella inside a house. Chinese believe ghosts may hide inside umbrellas, if one opens an umbrella inside the house it could lead the ghost into their home.

Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

The Master Bedroom is Key

One of the first steps in inviting positive energy into your new home is setting up the beds, which is associated with fortune and happiness. The key is to get the order right: sheet linens, quilt, then pillows.

The bedding has to be made with haste. To avoid complications, it’s a good idea to set up the bed bases or frames in advance. The sooner you can achieve order in your bed setting, the better your prospects.

The idea is to draw prosperity to your new home by introducing vitality. The Master Bedroom should always be done first.

Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Make some noise!

Add sound and movement to your house, followed by ventilation and lighting.

First, get some water boiling. It’s best to use a whistling kettle to add some noise to the space, but if one is not available, any kettle or saucepan will do.

As soon as you hear the water boiling, turn on television and the radio.

Once you get the audio-visual going, open up all the windows then turn on the air conditioning and electric fans.

Last but not least, switch on all the lights.
boiling kettle

The idea is to draw prosperity to your new home by introducing vitality.
As a way to be conscientious of the environment, electrical appliances can be switched off after around 15 minutes when the moving-in ritual is complete.

Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Salt and Rice in House Corners

On the day of moving in to your new house you must sprinkle some salt with rice in every corner in the house. This is to remove all evil and bad spirits from the house should there be any. Start at the entrance of your house on ground floor and then move up.

Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Leaving on the lights in the house

Turn on the lights in the living room of the house and outside the house for three consecutive nights after moving in. This is to boost the yang energy in the house. In this way, good fortune would be invited in and will stay put. This also helps rid the house of all the negative qi or unwanted beings.

Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

A date is chosen for moving in

The occupants of the house should try to be in a jovial mood on the day that they are to move into their new residence. They should try to refrain from losing their tempers and refrain from uttering profanities and inauspicious words. It is not advisable to argue or quarrel as this might signify that the residents will be forever arguing or quarrelling thereafter.

The red banner must be put up before moving in. Some people hang a turnip on each side of the banner and a pineapple in the middle. Other people hang up other auspicious things.
Each family member must carry one auspicious item when moving into the new house. They should never go in empty handed as this implies that they have not brought in anything from outside. They can carry a rice container which is 3/4 filled with a red packet (ang pau) placed on top. This would mean that there is space for more to come. A packet of oranges or mandarins. Actually, it can be anything that has an auspicious meaning.

Also, either the house owner or his wife must get ready some coins to throw onto the floor while in the process of entering into the new house. This would signify bringing in wealth and good fortune. If possible utter some auspicious words like, gold and jade fills the house or something to that effect.

Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /