The wish to welcome – and be welcomed by – new neighbours is something anyone moving into a new home can relate to. Here are three ways to do it, inspired by traditions from different parts of the world. What’s your favourite welcome?
Sharing bread with new friends
Giving bread to a newly arrived neighbour is common in many regions. In Finland, the tradition is combined with the Finns’ bread of choice – a dark, multigrain type of rye bread. The gift is accompanied by a measure of salt, signalling friendship or prosperity.
Long-lasting gift wrapping
A fresh loaf of bread requires careful handling. A tea towel takes care of it all: a nice package, breathability to let out excess moisture – and a bonus gift that will outlast its contents.
“I know there are versions of this in other places, but where I come from in Finland, a fresh loaf of rye bread together with some salt is often given to someone moving into a new home. I believe the salt is a symbol for wishing prosperity.”
A sweet welcome
In the US, giving a home-made cake or pie is a trusty recipe for getting off to a good start with newly arrived neighbours.
Pie equals good neighbours
Your blueberry pie may be reduced to crumbs before long – but likely leave a budding friendship in its place.
“There’s this saying, that something is ‘as American as apple pie’. Well, bringing a freshly baked pie or cake over to your new neighbour is just that. When you’ve just moved into a new home, there’s usually no shortage of desserts.”
Your origins served on a plate
Being a big country, China has many regional cuisines. When moving to a new place, it’s sometimes customary to invite the people living on the same floor, and serve something from where you come from.
A Chinese tea party
Serving an entire meal can be a challenge, especially if you’re unsure about how many will come. Why not go for a tea party instead? Quick and easy to adapt to the number of guests, and bound to go well with, for instance, your favourite grandmother’s-recipe muffins.
“The custom I most connect with moving in China, is for the person moving into a new home to invite the neighbours and serve them food that is traditional or common in the place he or she comes from originally.”
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