HOUSE-WARMING PARTY: MEANING AND ORIGIN OF THE EXPRESSION

Moving into a new house requires a house-warming party! But what is the origin of this tradition? And if you’re looking for a creative way to celebrate, it may be useful to know some festive customs.

Why house-warming party?

Originally, the housewarming rack was a metal rod made of notches and hooks on which you could hang a pot and cook food. This tool was adjustable and the different heights at which the pot was hung affected the speed of cooking. The rack was a kind of thermostat on the chimney, an indispensable tool if one wanted to eat good food. In the Middle Ages, to mark the conclusion of the construction of a new house, it was customary to invite all those who had contributed to the work to come and eat there. Indeed, at that time, when one wanted to build a new building, the owner solicited his neighbours, friends and family members. The meal was eaten in a cauldron attached to this hook. Nowadays, we have stoves. But we have more or less kept the basic principle.

The housewarming party in the rest of the world

Throughout history, this tradition has evolved. The housewarming definition now has its own names and the rites vary around the world. In India, for example, the ceremony is known as “Gruha Pravesh”, in South America the feast is a “Food Pounder” and in Thailand the “Keun Ban Mai” is celebrated.

In Russia, villagers offer bread and salt to their new neighbours, a custom that has spread throughout Europe. The bread is given so that the occupants never go hungry and the salt as a symbol that their lives will always be full of flavour.

Italians receive four main gifts when they move into their new home: a broom, a candle, rice and olive oil.

Germans believe a rooster will keep intruders away from the new home, although this gift is not really practical. They can be replaced by gifts decorated with roosters.

What you have to understand about a housewarming party…

In fact, the expression comes from medieval times. In those days, the owners of new houses invited all those who participated in their construction to dine with them. As the house-warming party was the last thing to be installed in a new house, it marked the completion and beginning of the thank-you meal. Nowadays, however, it is a celebration to mark a move or the completion of a new construction.

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