House-warming parties

A house-warming party (or flat-warming party) is not quite so common nowadays, when family members no longer necessarily live near each other. However, it is a traditional way to celebrate moving to a new home and letting friends and family see your new surroundings.

In centuries gone by, it had a literal meaning ~ the new house was probably cold, especially if it had been empty for a while, so people would bring firewood to light in the fireplaces and to ward off evil spirits. They might also have given gifts such as brooms, knives, salt, bread, coins and honey, each with its own symbolic meaning. In a religious household, a priest may have been asked to purify the house by walking through each room sprinkling holy water while reciting a blessing.

Today, it is usual to have the party within a month or two after moving in, before any serious decorating or renovations take place. Instead of firewood, gifts may include ‘Home Sweet Home’ or ‘Bless this House’ trinkets such as small signs, pictures, cushions, fridge magnets, cards and candles.

Image: Theresa Lepiane at

(Top image: Photo Mix at

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