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”.

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Keeping good luck

On the New Year Day ( first day of the new year in Lunar Calendar) , do not sweep the floor/ clean house. Vietnamese believe everybody/ every household has good luck on the first day of the new year. If we sweep / clean the house/ throw out the garbage, we will lose good luck.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Things to move into the house first

Before the auspicious date that has been chosen, one can move certain things into the house first. They should bring rice, cooking oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, charcoal and tea leaves and place them in the kitchen first. This is to signify that the house is already stocked with the basic preliminary items.

If there are children in the family, then books and stationery can also be brought to the house first. this would help boost their children’s study luck.
The altar and the deities should also be invited to the new house before the moving in date. This is done so that the deities would protect the new residence and also any unwanted beings would leave the place once the deities are installed.
The stove should also be set up before the moving in date. An auspicious date must be chosen for setting up the stove in the kitchen.

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Why Direction of Doors & Stairs Should Face Right in The Philippines

Filipinos give importance to the house structures. When a couple decides to buy or build a house, old people say that the door should be on the right side and stairs should be straight or turn right to keep the couple loyal to each other.

‘Right’ as a direction is ‘kanan’ in Filipino and ‘right’ as proper is termed ‘tama’. They should be on the right to keep things ‘tama’. The term ‘left’ as a direction in Filipino is ‘kaliwa’, and ‘left’ as a verb (past tense of leave) is ‘iwan’.

When someone becomes unfaithful, they term it as ‘nangaliwa’ from the root word ‘kaliwa’.  If doors are on left side and the stairs turn left, old people will say, “dahil nasa kaliwa yan, mangangaliwa yang isa at mang-iiwan” which means because it is on the left, one of them will become unfaithful and will leave the other.

Newly weds in The Philippines therefore often look at this aspect when they look for their first home. Especially, when the opinion of their parents are important to them.

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