House warming House warming rites should be conducted before moving into a house to remove unseen entities. Apart from observing an auspicious date, the house-warming ceremony is another vital aspect and it is compulsory before moving into a house, whether rented or owned. In India, the house-warming ritual is regarded as second in importance only to the wedding ceremony. Vasthu Sastra says that all dwelling spaces are alive with unseen entities and prayers are necessary to purify the space from negative energy and to allow the flow of positive energy into the property. It is believed that unholy vibrations may have resided in the vacant space, which is why prayers are conducted asking the unseen forces to leave before new, protective energies are invited to occupy the space. It is recommended that a priest or a qualified Vasthu Sastra consultant perform the house-warming ceremony because it involves several levels of cleansing. Those who follow different faiths can conduct the ceremony differently to invoke the blessings of the Almighty, elders or well-wishers. In the Indian tradition, the sacred rites are performed to bestow good health, wealth, peace and prosperity to the house owner. The function begins with a pooja (a rite of worship) for Lord Ganesha, the main deity, and the breaking of a coconut to clear all obstacles in the way of the auspicious event. A dweller must not occupy or move things into a property without performing the house warming ceremony. The elaborate ceremony will include the property owner and his wife dressed in new clothes, sitting before a makeshift fireplace as mantras are chanted. Nine saffron coated coconuts, signifying deities from the nine planets, are placed on top of small containers filled with water. The priest will then perform a purification ceremony by circling incense smoke and camphor fire over the deities to cleanse the premises.Sandalwood and mango tree branches, and herbs and spices are reduced to ashes in the fire so that pungent smoke will fill the air. The rite also includes cutting a pumpkin that has been coated with kumkum (a red powder symbolising blood), with the pieces left as an offering in the eight cardinal directions (north, south, east and west or north-east, south-east, north-west and south-west) of the property. Prayer for prosperity the Hindu way A special prayer to the Goddess Lakshmi (the deity of wealth) is performed to ensure that prosperity, purity and serenity always accompany with the people in the house. Milk and rice which signifies purity and long life, is boiled on a stove and caused to overflow from the pot. This signifies an overflow of wealth coming into the house. This is normally done by blessing the goddess reflection in a mirror with coconut water, sugar cane juice, honey, milk and water. Milk, which signifies purity and long life, is boiled on a new stove and caused to overflow from the pot. This signifies an overflow of wealth coming into the house. The ceremony also includes boring a 15cm deep hole at the doorway of the house, which is then filled with pieces of gold, silver, copper, bronze and iron; this is topped off with a conch shell to strengthen the house spiritually. The hole is then sealed, leaving the top end of the shell exposed. The final part of the ritual is to bring a cow into the house for the house owner to garland. In Hindu mythology, the cow symbolises Lord Shiva and its dung is regarded as a blessing. Following the house-warming, the family should occupy the property right away, as it is inauspicious to leave the property empty again after these rituals have been conducted.