Housewarming

Article published on July 20, 2005
Article published on July 20, 2005

When in France, should a new-found friend invite you to their pendaison de crémaillère ('We’re going to hang what?!'), do not be alarmed. They are in fact inviting you to celebrate a boozy evening in their new home. The expression refers to the pot hanger (crémaillère), symbol of a bygone era when the French used this toothed iron rod to hang the cooking pot in the fireplace. The action of 'hanging the crémaillère' symbolised the future well-being of the family, well housed and fed in their new abode. The idea of a warm and friendly hearth can also be found in the English expression housewarming. Meanwhile, our Polish friends celebrate a Parapetuwa, from the French parapet, meaning windowsill, which is the only place in an apartment where you can place things when there is no furniture. In short, be assured that there is no need to panic! One piece of advice though, when it comes to celebrating your own housewarming, follow the Polish example and do so in an empty flat in order to avoid damage!