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Author Topic: Scandinavian House Welcoming? (minor query)  (Read 3050 times)

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Scandinavian House Welcoming? (minor query)
« on: February 06, 2013, 04:27:51 AM »
Hi, everyone was so helpful on my last post, I have a really minor one that someone here might be able to help me out with.

This is one from my very early childhood, and I've always wondered about it.  When I was born my family was living in a small suburb near Boston, Mass.  When my parents bought the house they found the previous residents had left a gift for them in the fireplace - a piece of polished wood carved with a saying in a language they didn't recognise.  My father did some homework and found out that the language was old Scandinavian, or possibly Swedish (I'm working from sketchy childhood memory, here) and that the saying on the wood was a blessing to the newcomers coming into the house.  It basically wished the new owners good luck, hoping they were as happy as the previous family had been, or something to that extent.

My parents kept the piece of wood over the mantelpiece all the years we lived there, and when we eventually moved (when I was 4 years old) they placed the piece of carved wood back in the fireplace where they'd found it, hoping to bring good luck and happiness to the next incoming family.

My question is: does anyone know what country it's customary to do this?  Should they have burned the wood to bring our family good luck?  According to my mother we certainly were happy in the years we lived there, and my parents wanted to pass on the good blessing.  It's a minor question, but one me and my brother have always wondered about.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, everyone!


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Re: Scandinavian House Welcoming? (minor query)
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 08:01:31 AM »
Swedish here, and have never heard of this custom...
Although we have always left a shiny coin as a good luck-gift for the next residents when we have moved. And also found a coin on a couple of occasions when moving into a new place. The coin should be hidden, though, not left on the mantle or in the fire place of any other visible place.


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Re: Scandinavian House Welcoming? (minor query)
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 04:02:12 AM »
Finnish here. I've never heard of this custom. It does sound like a nice tradition though! What I've seen a few times is people bringing decorated pieces of firewood to housewarmings, but these painted pieces of wood aren't meant to be burnt I think, and they don't have any writing on them.


  • Grammando and Cupcake Lady
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Re: Scandinavian House Welcoming? (minor query)
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 04:39:19 AM »
My guess is that you aren't meant to burn it.
You have just begun reading the sentence you have just finished reading.


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Re: Scandinavian House Welcoming? (minor query)
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 06:25:08 AM »
I have never heard of this.  It sounds sweet!  I wonder if this wood was meant to be burned.  Perhaps in the old days when a fireplace would be used to heat the home and cook, to burn the wood when making a meal or warming your family would be good luck.  Since this wood was polished and decorative, it probably wasn't meant to be burned, but an old tradition.  I don't think I would have burned the wood, but would have kept it and pass it along, like your parents did. 

I have always had the superstition that you never move your brooms.  It's bad luck to take your broom with you.  You leave them behind and buy new ones at the new home.  The reason being, you are making a new start and when you bring a broom with you, you are carrying bad events and memories from your old life with you, even if your time in the old location were overall happy.  You're not leaving bad luck behind for the new residents, it's just bad luck to take them with you.  The new residents may use or dispose of them as they wish.  This doesn't apply to mops and vacuums, and I don't know why, but the vacuum would be pretty expensive. 

I harbor fewer superstitions than my mom, and her less than her mom, but this is one that I have strictly adhered to. 

I remember someone moving to a new location and found it rather odd that there were several brooms left behind.  I believe this was a place of business and there were just an unusual number of brooms.  I was able to explain this superstition to this person, which was probably the explanation for the brooms.  When my husband and I moved, I told him not to move the broom.  He did anyway.  Huge fight ensued.  I'm sure he was just: :o

My daughter still remembers granny getting upset when she opened an umbrella in the house.  She was probably about 2 at the time.  I never really stuck to the umbrella rule, so she didn't know.  We still get a chuckle at this memory.

My question, if the house doesn't have a fireplace, what do you do?  Do you still leave a piece of wood?  I think it's a fabulous idea to leave some good luck and well-wishes behind for new residents.  If I ever move again, I'm going to consider something like this!   :)

We also always bring salt and bread to a new home.  When I moved, I didn't have to buy salt for quite a long time.  ;D
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 06:30:34 AM by m2kbug »


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Re: Scandinavian House Welcoming? (minor query)
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 08:17:06 AM »
I'm Danish and I've never heard of this before.

I don't think there is anything you're supposed to do since us Scandinavians wouldn't really know what to do either.
Maybe it was a personal tradition for that family? It sounds very sweet though.  :)
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