In the past in Serbia, during the building of a house people performed many rituals designed to insure success of the building process and subsequent survival of the house and happiness of the house inhabitants.
A place for a new house was chosen carefully. In Central Serbia, it was believed that the best place to build the house on was the one which a flock of sheep chose as it's resting place.
Before the new house was built, four rocks were placed on the ground where the house corners were supposed to stand in the evening. If in the morning bugs were found under the rocks, the house would stand in that place for a long time.
One more ritual performed to determine if the place for the house was chosen correctly involved placing a glass of water or wine in the middle of plot in the evening. If in the morning "something alive" was found drowned in the glass, the place was chosen correctly.
Every new build required a blood sacrifice. Before the building started, a lamb or a cockerel was slaughtered on the foundation stone. The head of the animal was built into the wall, and the meat was roasted and eaten by the family and the workers.
It was believed that someone from the family will soon die after they move into the new house, because every house wants to have its protective spirit, which is the spirit of the first person to die in the house.
To prevent this from happening, during the move, people made sure that a rooster was the first to cross the doorstep of the new house. This was done so that the rooster would "drive the evils spirits out".
But straight after the rooster entered the house, he caught and was then killed on the doorstep, (the seat of the dead) by the man of the house...
Cockerel's blood was then sprinkled on the outside walls and into all four corners of the house, and his head was buried under the fireplace, the seat of the domestic cult.
What is very interesting here is that there are many indications that sacrificing a cockerel was among serbs a replacement for a human sacrifice...I talked about this in my post "Cock bashing" and "The third death"...
People avoided walking by a building site of a new house, because it was believed that the builders would build person's shadow into the house walls, to create a protective house spirit. The owner of the shadow would then soon die and become the house spirit.
This is probably a remnant of the old custom to build people alive into the house walls or foundations. Serbian epic poetry is full of stories about this ritual which was used "when fairies would not allow a town, bridge, church..." to be built. I talked about this in my post "Blood and mortar"...
When the foundation was dug, a handful of grains, a few coins and a piece of frankincense were placed in each corner of the house, so that "the people in the house always had enough bread and money". Frankincense protected the house from vampires.
Moving into the new house was also full of special rituals.
It was believed that the best time to move into the new house was on the days of the full moon.
The fireplace was considered to be the heart of the house. If a family was moving from an old, still existing, house into a new house, a fire from the old fireplace had to be brought into the new fireplace, to ensure the continuation of the family.
If it was not possible to bring the fire from the old house, a brand new "live" fire (need fire) had to be kindled "in the old way", by "rubbing wood on wood", using fire drill or fire saw. These kind of fires were believed to have magical properties.
After the fire was lit, bread and salt, traditional welcome offerings, are the next things brought into the house. The members of the family break the bread and eat it dipped in salt. After that all the other things are brought in.
The last thing the family needed to do to "put roots down" in the new house was to plant a fruit tree next to the house, which had to be done by the man of the house not later than one year after the family moved in.