Chinese Customs Of Putting The First Roof Beams In Place

Building a house is a very significant event in Chinese culture as the property itself is believed to play a substantial role in family harmony and wealth luck.

It is no wonder that there are various customs and rituals which are often practiced related to new homes activities such as ground breaking ceremony and moving in.

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During the construction process, another significant milestones is when the house’s framework is ready for the main beams to be put in place. And it should not be a surprise to find auspicious customs associated with this specific event itself.

It should be noted that these rituals are usually only undertaken for the first or main beam. A landowner would be spending a whole day or more on them if he is to do it for each beam.

Before the installation of the first roof beams are done, the homeowner should have already chosen the materials from a building. Otherwise, a truly traditional method of procuring beams is to go into the nearby forest to find the best pine trees and manufacture the beams from the tree itself.

An auspicious date would then be selected for the commencement of this process of putting the beam in place.

The head of the household would invite friends and relatives over like a house warming for them to not only witness the event, but also to bring the energy of festivities.

Celebratory foodstuff such as fruits, rice dumplings, pastries, etc, are brought to the location. In some cases, even meat such as roast pig and poultry are brought. When meat are present, it is almost certain to be an offering to the gods to ask for blessings.

Two persons will then hold the beam on both ends and lift it up a ladder. At this time, the chief carpenter would recite traditional verses and mantras. This is sometimes substituted with auspicious words, terms and verses.

This is also when the people present, including the builders, start eating the food which are carefully placed on both sides of the beam.

The homeowner would then place a red cloth over the beam. After which, red packets are handed out to the carpenters as a gesture of auspiciousness.

For those who are deeply cultural, a red paper with written words conveying blessings will be pasted on the beam itself. Then a rooster that is bleeding would be carried up the ladder and released on the beam.

The roof beam can now be placed and set on the ridge of the house.

Now that the beam is in place, people would gather around it and throw the remaining food at the beam from the ground. These can include red dates, buns, pastries, fruits, etc.

There would be a rush to collect the food that are thrown like how people fight for a wedding bouquet toss. This is meant to receive wealth luck that the ceremony has energized.

The actual feasting begins.

Construction can carry on after the above ritual is conducted.

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