Question: Is there a Jewish tradition of placing these items into the home before you enter the first time: a roll of quarters – so you never need money; salt – for spice in your life; sugar – for a sweet life; candles – so you’re never in darkness; red ribbon – to keep away anything bad; and a broom – so your home will always be clean. Or is this just something my mother dreamed up?
Answer: Your mother did not dream this up because I have heard of similar practices from other older Jewish people (actually, the roll of quarters part was new to me—I think I’ve just heard of salt, sugar and flour). Some have told me they saw people doing this in Poland before the war. Still, I know of no written source for it, so it is unclear when this practice started or what its true origin is. If you’d like to do a similar practice that does have an ancient source, there is a custom to always keep bread on one’s table, because when G-d sends His blessing for bounty down into this world, that blessing needs something to rest upon.
Wishing you much blessing,