Buying your new home is a very proud moment for you and your family. It is likely one of the most expensive purchases you will make and therefore it’s a big deal for everyone involved. Many Chinese people observe or believe in several Chinese customs.
Last year, my sister bought a new flat and stayed with my mum in her spare rooms temporarily. Many people in Singapore would only move in after their house is fully renovated. Unlike the moving culture here in the UK.
In the UK, many people tend to move into their new homes and renovate when they have the money or whenever they can. Some people who are lucky to have spare cash might rent to be more comfortable while the builders renovate their homes.
Before my sister bought her new place (it is a second-hand old flat), she went through a lot of trouble. Let me explain! At each house she visited, she will ask my mother for her opinion. My mother is a typical Chinese, and she will only ask Buddha and her ancestors for help! She would pray and tell them the house unit number etc. She will then toss the divination blocks/moon blocks (Jiǎo Bēi) for her answers. Sometimes she will use two of the same coins for the same effects to toss for answer, whenever there are no moon blocks available.
Besides asking Buddha for help, my sister also has friends who have a third eye. What is a third eye? People with a third eye can see spirits or ghosts etc. Anyway, people will seek help from friends with a third eye for house hunting. They will check if there are any evil spirits or ghosts in the house they are buying. Or sometimes people will bring children under five years old along, as they are more sensitive to these types of ‘things’. If they cry, it might not be a good sign. If they play happily, it is not always good news either! I will tag the Mr Zhou’s podcast on this post once I find it. It is about a single mother who buys a new flat and her daughter was so happy playing with someone the mother couldn’t see!
Anyway, my sister’s Interior Designer, whom she called her ID, has a third eye. Besides giving her interior design tips, she also helped her to scan for ‘things’. Very handy! Her ID also helped her pray before the renovation, first by knocking on all the corners of the house, and then praying in the house. In Singapore, a lot of people live in HDB flats and each has an allocated burning incense area nearby. Before burning the paper offering, draw a circle using water or chalk, place the burning offering in the circle (this is to show ‘them’, these items are for the Emperor of the Earth) and ask him for blessing.
After getting the key to the new house, some (Chinese) will roll a pineapple on the floor as this symbolises prosperity (旺 Wàng). My best friend did this before the renovation. My sister rolled the pineapple after the renovation when moving in. Everyone has their own preferences. In the Mr Zhou’s Ghost Stories podcast on the 19th October 2018 at 44 minutes, one of the stories is that they (Hong Kongers) rolled the pineapple in their new home, and the pineapple rolled itself out twice. Hence they refused to move in. Another story from Mr Zhou’s Ghost Stories podcast on the 11th June 2021 by Warwick, regarding new house and pineapple. Have a listen!
After rolling the pineapple, some will sprinkle salt and rice at every corner of the house to get rid of evil spirits. Some will hire Feng Shui masters to the house to guide them on the things they can do in the house and the things they have to be careful of. My best friend paid $1288 a session about 6 years ago. I have no idea what the market price in Singapore is now for this kind of consultation.
Auspicious Date and Hours
In the UK, completion day is the official day! In some Chinese eyes, it has to be an auspicious date. Some would ask the temple for the best day to move and some would ask their Feng Shui master. My sister’s flat completed renovation during the Hungry Ghost Festival. During this month, she had to burn a lot of paper offerings for blessing in order to not have ‘them’ disturb the renovation. She moved almost immediately after the ghost month. Also, she picked the auspicious hours too. The removal company came late (should have arrived at 11am) and she cancelled them immediately! She quickly rearranged another company for the next auspicious hour (1pm-3pm)! She is that strict!
It is best to move in the morning or at noon rather than sunset or nighttime. If you move in at sunset or nighttime, it means your life will be working like a dog. Going out early and coming home late. It is a bad sign.
Not many people have spirit tablets/statues, but if they do, they are the first to move in before the human. They are there to guard the house! I wrote my true ghost stories on spirit tablets and incense pot, please have a read.
Open all windows and Turn on the lights
This is to bring in auspicious air and to help the new house to flourish.
It is always required! Inviting relatives, friends or neighbours to your new home will help drive out any evil spirits. The more the merrier to have 人气 Rén Qì. Increase the ‘yang’ energy rather than ‘yin’ energy in the house!
Some Chinese taboos are: it is not recommended to move while pregnant. The marital bed is where the baby was created and is not supposed to get dismantled as it will break the soul of the baby. Best to move after giving birth. Keep a good mood and avoid saying unlucky words.
So what do you think about these Chinese customs? Do you have your own custom? Let me know in the comments below.