From ghost-proofing to sealing in good luck: a home-buyer’s guide to house-hunting

By , on August 6, 2013


Moving into a new place can be very exciting and very laborious at the same time. It involves a lot of preparations — from choosing where you’re going to live, to hiring the moving van, to bubble-wrapping your belongings and so forth. But in some parts of the world, moving into a new house entails more than mundane planning. It is an activity that involves your faith and various systems of beliefs.

"Don't go there!" Black cats spell disaster so better not pursue your destination. Photo from Wikipedia.
“Don’t go there!” Black cats spell disaster so better not pursue your destination. Photo from Wikipedia.

Superstitious beliefs are not new to us Filipinos. As kids, we were told not to pursue our destination if a black cat happens to walk by. As young adults, we were scolded when we clear the table before everybody’s finished their meal. Not because it’s impolite, but because of the fear of never getting married because the table was cleared before one was done eating (we were also told to spin our plate counter-clockwise to battle the effects of the horrible sting of eating too slowly). And as working married men and women, we were told to never bring our packed lunch home if it is uneaten for it might mean that your husband or wife will return you to your parents, as if you were mail shipped to the wrong address.

Each country probably has its own set of superstitious beliefs about moving into a new home. Here are some superstitions about moving into a new home. Whether you practice them or not, it’s up to you.

Loaf of bread. Photo from Wikipedia.
Loaf of bread. Photo from Wikipedia.

The Philippines is teeming with superstitions. Here are a few.

  • When moving into a new house, make sure you enter the door with a loaf of bread and a new broom.
  • For protection from the entry of evil spirits, salt should be sprinkled in all the rooms and across doorways.
  • Schedule your move-in date when the moon is full.
  • If someone brings a set of knives as a housewarming gift, by all means, do not accept it. Lest you want that someone to become an enemy of yours.
  • This is, perhaps, the creepiest one. If there’s a staircase in your new home, count off the steps one by one by going “oro, plata, mata” (gold, silver, death). Of course, the last step shouldn’t fall on “mata.” Otherwise, who knows what kind of doom shall befall you and those living in your home.
  • Scatter coins in the living room when moving into a new home. This means you are inviting prosperity to reign in your home.
  • Black ants are well-wishers of good luck. So, don’t shoo them away if you see any in your new home.

Of course, the rest of the world isn’t new to beliefs like these.

According to Listomania, in West Africa, it is bad luck to sweep the floors at night. They say this will brush away wealth from your home.

From the same source, Russians believe that if it rains on your wedding day, wealth will follow! So, better wish for rain on your wedding day so you’ll have enough money for a new house.

Further surfing around the world wide web will lead you to other superstitious beliefs about new houses. There’s one that says that you shouldn’t buy a house at a T-shaped intersection. They say it’s a “bad omen,” often means that you will become a push-over in time.

Fennel over your door will be your protector. Photo from Wikipedia.
Fennel over your door will be your protector. Photo from Wikipedia.

You can also use plants and food items to keep your home safe. According to Alamanac.com, branches of a Hazel tree picked on Palm Sunday can protect your house from lightning, while hanging a fennel over your door will protect your home against witches.

To keep bad spirits away, hang strands of garlic around your house. You can also hang a horse shoe on your front door for good luck, or paint your front door a “haint” blue, because apparently ghosts hate water. Other ways to “ghost-proof” your new home can be found at Credit Sesame Daily. Thanks to Colin Dobrin’s infographic.

There a hundreds, probably thousands, of other superstitions around the world about moving into the new house. Just ask your grandparents. But whether you believe it or not, it is still up to us how we’re going to turn our new house into a home.

Happy househunting!