Malaysians typically have an opinion on anything and everything. But of the most agreed on opinion that spans the cultures is the importance of maturity and stability. And in Malaysia, one is only considered ‘financially stable’ if you buy a house.
So you search for a house high and low, save up every penny you have and finally buy a decent place to call home. Yay! But wait. Before you move in, certain practices have to be observed to ensure a continuously prosperous life.
Since people of different religions and culture exist in Malaysia, we have many different ‘moving in’ rituals suggested to us by friends and family. Now, some of these rituals are similar from one culture to another, while others are entirely different.
Let us take a look at some of the different rituals followed by various religions and cultures…
According to Muslims, the first thing they must do when entering their new home is to thank God for his blessings; because without His blessings, buying a house would not have been possible.
Next, you will have to recite a specific “doa” (prayer) three times. It is said to get rid of all evil spirits residing in the house. You will then have to genuinely look at your house and say “Masha Allah”, which means you are admiring the beauty of your new home. One more prayer (Surah al-Baqarah) is said as a last kick to get all evil entities out of the house. This is then followed by a feast.
Family members, friends and neighbours should be invited to have lunch or dinner in their new home, like a mini housewarming party called a ‘waakerah’ as a way of showing gratitude to God.
The Buddhists and Taoists
Many different rituals can be found in the Chinese culture. However, people nowadays would rather use a Feng Shui master to conduct the whole process.
So, first in the list is to find an auspicious day according to the Tong Sheng (Chinese Almanac). On that day, the breadwinner of the family will have to carry a container filled with rice and two red packets into their new home. All family members who are present on that day must walk into the house carrying something auspicious such as books, gold, money, fruits and so forth.
Some people also believe that at this point, the madam of the house should roll pineapples into the house and say “cai yuan gun gun lai” (more prosperity to come). This is to call for money to roll right into your house and life.
Once in, all the lights should be switched on. If the television set has already been set up, it should also be switched on. All water pipes should be turned on as well, to symbolise that the property is ready to receive occupants. New mops and brooms must be bought for the new house, as to not bring ‘old dirt’ into the new house.
Finally, a sweet dessert should be cooked, preferably ‘tang yuan’ (glutinous rice dumplings in soup), and served to the family.
There are various moving in rituals that Hindu people follow. The most common ritual is to do a ‘Griha Pravesh’, or a housewarming ceremony. Firstly, a prayer room or a small section of the new house should be prepared with a picture of a deity and a small oil lamp. This can only be done after a suitable day has been chosen based on the ‘Panchang’ (Hindu calendar).
On this day, all the doors should be left opened and the lights switched on. The head of the family will have to say a prayer and light the oil lamp. A small container filled with holy water (a mixture of water from the new house, a little bit of water from the Ganges River, some turmeric and a dash of cow’s urine) must be kept at the altar as well.
Some families carry out elaborate prayers at home, calling renowned priests to sanctify and bless the house. Some just stick with small, low-scale prayers done within the family.
After the prayers, milk will be boiled in the kitchen using a new pot. The milk must boil until it rises and spills over the rim before the stove can be switched off. A glass of that milk is then offered to God and the balance is served to the others present in the house.
The whole house will then be sprinkled with the holy water mentioned earlier. This is said to cleanse the house and push negative energy out.
Certain Western rituals have somehow crept into Malaysian homes. One of it is a Jewish tradition which suggests that the house owner brings bread and salt into their new home. This is said to ensure that they will constantly have food on their table.
Another popular belief is to plant pomegranate trees in the house compound as pomegranates represent fertility. Well, if you are planning to expand your family, this is one tip you may want to follow.
Burning sage is a Native American ritual that is said to help remove negative energy from the house. So when starting life in a new home, the new home owner ought to burn sage and walk all around the house; beginning from upstairs or from the back of the house, all the way to the front door. The light smoke that emanates from the burning sage will drive evil entities out of the house.
These are only just some of the many rituals that can be performed when you move into a new house. Pick the ones that resonate with you and that you feel comfortable with. Happy moving into your new home, and may you prosper!
(Written by: Tanusha Marahlingam, 31st May 2016)