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A house contains a litany of shared meals, memories of friends and loved ones, and the celebrations of life’s milestones. When babies are born, we bring them straight here. When loved ones die, we gather in our homes to grieve and remember.
Hinduism Today writes, “The building of a house ... is not just a matter of masonry or of business. It is a liturgical act, in which human lives as well as the powers above and below are involved. A house is not real estate, but a human dwelling place, the prolongation, in a sense, of a Man's body; it is the first extension of Man's real world.”
The world’s religions recognize the holiness of our dwelling places, and each has a rubric for blessing them.
In one version of a Buddhist house blessing a monk, or many monks, will come to the home, to chant prayers and strew rice in the rooms. In another monks sprinkle “lustral water.”
In Thailand, there is a thread ceremony. A length of string leads from the house Buddha, through the hands of the monks gathered in prayer. The monks' prayers vibrating through the string are said to protect the house and its inhabitants.
A Catholic house blessing can be a casual affair, such as when I grabbed our neighborhood priest who was out for an evening stroll, and with youthful enthusiasm, fast-talked him into my house.
In his incomprehensible Irish brogue, he cheerfully blessed some water and then our home, and was out the door in five minutes.
Recently, I had a housewarming party with a more formal blessing. At the opening of the party, the priest gathered the guests in the entry way for communal prayer, then I led him alone through the house as he blessed the rooms.
A Catholic tradition also exists of blessing the home on Epiphany, January 6th.