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Someone asked what the origins of things at a housewarming such as
bread, salt, sugar, a penny and a knife. Do you know?
Off the top of my head, damned if I know. But after doing a
little bit of poking around on the web, hereís what I
The bread and salt tradition comes from an old Russian folk
custom. Back in the day, when the emperor and empress would pay
a village a visit, merchants and gentry would present their
esteemed guests with a round loaf of
bread piled with salt, a sign of hospitality. Peasants used the
same ceremony upon being introduced to a landlord and his new
wife, with the gift of bread and salt signifying that the new
couple would always have the necessities of life. When given at
housewarmings, therefore, bread and salt represent the giverís wish that
the recipientís pantry will always be full. Sugar, on the
other hand, symbolizes the hope for a sweet life.
As for the knife, the folk lore goes like this: if you give a knife to a friend,
the recipient is supposed to give you a penny as a symbolic
gesture to avoid cutting the friendship. But, youíre also not
supposed to give knives as housewarming presents to your
neighbors, because superstition says itíll make the new
neighbor your enemy. Superstitions, sheesh Ö how do
people come up with them?
a suspicion you may have committed
a social faux pas?
want to avoid
doing so in the future?
your questions to us and get answers in future installments of
etiquette quandaries: registering for a housewarming?
lounge . nourish
host . laze
. home .