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A lot of clients requested me to write an article about “what to do on the day of shift in 新屋 入伙”. The most important step is to choose an auspicious day and time to reach your new home be it BTO or resale. Following the Chinese custom and ritual, stuff written here are “symbolic” to good fortune or luck or good health. Olden days China they use fire crackers and the elderly will carry the charcoal stove to “warm” the house and mark this auspicious day, unfortunately fire crackers were banned in Singapore. Here is a simplified version of the Chinese custom/ritual that you can use to give you better peace of mind.
*Please note that all your “heavy lifting” furniture like bed, refrigerator, sofa set, TV console can shift in prior to the auspicious day. The day of shifting in should be “free and easy” for you and your loved ones probably bringing some light clothings and daily home hygiene tools.
*As for those with altar, you can set up the altar stand first prior to the shift in date and you invite the “Gods” on the day of shift in.
Shift in Day procedures
1. Choose an auspicious day and time is a must from feng shui perspective using Chinese Almanac / Tong Shu / Tong Sheng Chinese Calendar or other methods of auspicious dates selection. The rest of the procedures are mainly Chinese customs and beliefs.
2. You can either choose this yourself through the Chinese almanac or engage a feng shui master to do so. If you choose yourself please ensure it does not conflict with your occupants’ yearly zodiac (simplistic version) of course getting a master to do so will be much better.
3. Wear something new on that day of shifting in like Chinese New Year.
4. Stick one pair of red 对联 (dui lian) Chinese scrolls on each side of the door. You can remove this after staying in your new house for 7 days. This is believed to act as a defense against evil spirits 僻邪驱鬼.
5. The most senior member of house should lead and enter the house first, this is a form of respect based on Chinese culture.
6. You and all your family members that are staying in the house should carry items that signifies “auspicious” or “luck” in your hands as you enter your new house. The head of household can carry “angpow with money inside” or abacus, female owner can carry rice bin (80% full), oil, salt, 柴米油盐 or water, bowl & chopsticks, kids can carry 葱蒜suan cong/ green onion(scallion) or sweets or 4 chinese calligraphy brushes for studies , singles who wishes to tie the wedding knot can carry a red string. Some tradition carries new broom and dustpan; signifies new brooms sweep clean. Who carries what does not matter, is really up to you. Therefore all your family members will wear something new and bring something new to the house signifying a brand new start.
The “boiling of water and to cook a meal with rice” is the significance of 入伙
7. After entering the house is to switch on the “stove” 开炉 (kai lu) to boil water and 煮饭 cook a simple or sumptuous meal depends on you. This must fall within the auspicious hours given by the master or your own selection. Since the lucky time chosen is normally 2 hours, it should be pretty easy to do so. Most people thought that “boiling of water” is symbolic to “shift in” but cooking a meal with rice is technically more complete and it signifies that your home is flourishing 风生水起! Thus it is important to remember that “boiling of water and to cook a meal with rice” is the significance of 入伙 Shift in day. You can also stock up the meat and vegetables before the shift in date in the refrigerator if that will make your life easier. You can then switch on the fan or air conditioner, all the lights for your entire home, this is symbolic to bringing the “charcoal stove” into the house because lightings belongs to the “fire” element. Chinese believed that “fire” can dispel all the negative energies in the house.
8. 安床 due to constraint of time some do it on the shift in day too. Usually when the furniture shop deliver the bed it is purposely tilted (not flush against the wall) so that you can install the bed on an auspicious date and time. One of the chinese custom is that you can do is to throw 10 $1 dollar underneath the bed for luck enhancement, some even place 2 nails inside a red packet below the mattress for child-bearing.
This is the simplest Chinese custom version, the rest are all pretty complicated with praying and incense offering which varies depends on your religious beliefs. Other than choosing an auspicious date and time, only point 7 is significant to follow.