In the Jewish Chanukat Habayit house blessing, a mezuzah, which is a small case that holds a parchment that is inscribed with a blessing is affixed to the door post of the house. This is a requirement in Jewish tradition. Traditional authorities say that mechanically printed scrolls or an empty mezuzah case will not fulfill the requirement. They say that only scrolls hand-written in a prescribed way will. However, not all Jews concur with those guidelines and there are many places that sell mezuzah with mechanically printed scrolls.
This is not a good luck charm, rather, it is a reminder of G-d’s constant presence in the home and the command to always remember G-d’s presence in the mind and heart.
As the mezuzah is put in place, the following prayer is said, “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 installed at about a 30° angle tilting toward the door with the side of the case that has the Hebrew letter, shin ש, showing. It is placed on the right-hand doorpost of the home as it is entered.
Mezuzah cases can be simply or elaborately designed, colorful or plain. The case will have the Hebrew letter, shin, ש, on the outside of it which symbolizes the presence of G-d. It may have other words or inscriptions on it as well. Esty artists offer many hand-made varied rendering of the mezuzah. There are also websites that limit their offerings to only traditional Jewish items. Mezuzahs are also made for installation in a vehicle. They make wonderful housewarming and wedding gifts.
Following the mezuzah installation, bread and salt should be the first items to be brought into the house. After the placement of the mezuzah and the bringing of bread and salt, a house warming with friends and family is usually held. It is traditional to eat fruits of the season at the housewarming and an additional blessing is said, “Blessed are You, L-rd G-d, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.”
In some areas where Hinduism is practiced, the house blessing is second in importance only to the wedding day. In general, Hinduism requires that every home must be blessed on the morning that the new occupants are to move in. The date is to be carefully chosen so that is auspicious for the occupants. A Hindu priest consults with the stars to determine the best date.
On the day of the house blessing the homeowners will make ready a gift tray or dakshina containing raw rice, mango leaves, ghee, coins, herbs, spices, fruit, and flowers for the priest to use in the house blessing ceremony. As part of the ritual, the priest includes a prayer asking for prosperity, purity and serenity for the occupants of the home. This article describes the purpose of dakshina in general.
In the Christian tradition, a priest, minister or the homeowner him or herself may perform of the house blessing. The structure of the house blessing is varying according to the specific denomination and the person performing the ceremony. There are no set requirements that apply to all Christian denominations across the board. There seems to be much flexibility as to what happens during a house blessing.
If a Catholic priest performs the house blessing, he will walk from room to room during which he may recite a blessing and/or a passage from the Bible and sprinkle blessed holy water. Often the sign of the cross is made by the participants. Jesus Christ’s presence is invited to bring peace to those who abide within as well as those who visit the home.
In many areas where Buddhism is practiced a Khuan Ban Mai ceremony is performed when a new home is built. This blessing is done to protect the inhabitants are well as the house. Nine Buddhist monks perform this ceremony.
Using lit candles, the melted wax is dropped into sacred water by the monks. This is done to remove evil and sorrow. Prayers are chanted using mala or a string of beads. The good vibrations from the chants enter the home and protect its inhabitants.
The ceremony is followed by a meal for the monks. It is a requirement that the monks finish their meal by noon. Then the monks sprinkle holy water in each room of the house and they depart. Following that, the guests enjoy the remainder of the food. The final part of the house blessing is when the guests wrap a white thread around the homeowners and give them their blessing.
Usually there is no particular ritual ceremony. Muslims bless their homes by reciting prayers. These prayers may include a request for Allah to be merciful and bless the home and its occupants.
There can also be prayers of protection that ward off evil and people with negative thoughts or ill intent.
In keeping with the tradition of charity, friends and relatives are often invited to share the evening meal. This is also a demonstration to Allah of gratitude.
May you and the places that you live be always filled with love, peace and happiness.
New Place? or Old?
Now that you have read some of the ways that house blessing is done around the world, are you thinking about creating your own house blessing or inviting a house-blesser to bless your home? In whatever type of home you live — apartment, tiny house, mansion, castle, hut, mobile — you can bless your home and all who enter it. A House Blessing is one of my favorite books on house blessing; it has beautiful illustrations. There are other lovely books on house blessing too. Some include clearing your home of past events, heavy emotion, and unwanted “guests” to refresh and bless your home.
May your home be a place of harmony, love, and blessed shelter,
Reverend Marya OMalley
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