For the Thais, blessing a new house is a very important ceremony. The house blessing ceremony has several aspects of Buddhist religion. The two-part ceremony can take a day or more, and is usually carried out by monks. If you have moved into Thailand, and are moving into a new house, you may find yourself having to go through this ceremony, particularly if you are moving into a new home with a Thai spouse.
Here’s what you need to know about blessing a new house in Thailand.
Origin Of The Ceremony’s Name (Keun Ban Mai)
The Thai name for the house blessing ceremony is keun ban mai, whose literal translation is “going up into a new house”, possibly because traditional Thai houses were built above ground on stilts and one had to climb some steps to get into the house.
First Part Of The Blessing
As stated earlier, the house blessing ceremony consists of two parts. During the first part, the house owners move in the heavy furniture. However, the homeowners do not actually live in the house. However, the family moving into the house can live in the house immediately after this part of the ceremony if the move happens on a lucky day, say a Friday or a Sunday. Saturday is considered an unlucky day.
Second Part Of The House Blessing Ceremony
If the first part happens on an unlucky day, the second part of the ceremony will usually take part on a different day. However, if the day of the first part of the blessing was a lucky day, the second part of the ceremony can be taken care of on that very day. Whatever the case, during this part of the ceremony, a family is supposed to arrive at the house at a certain hour, which should be during a lucky number.
While moving in during this time, the family members should bring with them personal symbols of the Buddha, food, and money. All these things have symbolic significance. For instance, money means that the family will live in prosperity in the new home.
Additionally, during this part of the ceremony, a Buddhist ceremony takes place during which the house and its occupants are blessed. An odd number of monks is usually chosen, and those who can afford it get nine monks. Before the arrival of the monks, the house and the garden is draped using white thread, which is supposed to keep away bad spirits.
When the monks finally arrive, they will chant and pass a white thread among each other. Once this is over, the monks should be offered gifts and then food. After the meal, the senior monk will mark the doors in the house with white paste as a final protection to the home against evil spirits. After some time, some Thais build a spirit house in the garden where the spirits displaced during the house blessing ceremony can live.
A ceremony to bless the house is quite an important part of the Thai culture. Generally, the ceremony involves Buddhist rituals and some form of superstition. Furthermore, the ceremony can take a single day or even two separate days. The family can only move into the house after the second part of the ceremony, even if there are several days between the two parts of the ceremony.