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Welcome new neighbours!

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?

Hands proffering a GABBIG basket filled with ribboned tea towels, home-preserves in glass jars and fresh herbs.
Hands proffering a GABBIG basket filled with ribboned tea towels, home-preserves in glass jars and fresh herbs.

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.
(KNÅDA bread mix is not available in Japan)

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.

Maila, Finland

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.

Gretchen, USA

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.

Lezhi, China