Tradiții și obiceiuri despre cadouri in Asia – partea întâi

Giving is one of the oldest human practices and has slowly transformed over the years into the "creature" we know today full of unwritten rules, traditions, customs and restrictions. It can be a difficult terrain to navigate, especially if you don't want to offend anyone, which is why we're here to help.

We've done the research and gathered some interesting, unusual and place-specific gift-giving customs in Asian traditions. We've sorted them below by country, so if you've got friends from faraway lands and you'd like to give them something really meaningful this year, you're about to find out how.

We are with you, and if you still haven't found an inspired gift even for your loved ones who are close to you, I think you have plenty of chances here:

Traditions and Gifts in India India has an eclectic and beautiful culture with many occasions to celebrate. And of course, a variety of interesting and unusual traditions are attached to these holidays, some of which you are about to discover now.

Never give gifts with your LEFT hand In India, the left hand has a reputation for being unclean. We won't go into details...why this is so, but in any case, gifts should never be given with this hand. Always use your right hand if you want to give a little joy. This restriction is not just about gift-giving – in Bangladesh it even extends to table manners.

At a festive dinner - if you are eating with your right hand and someone asks you to give them salt, you can give it with your left, but you should support it with your right. This aversion to the left hand is clearly deeply ingrained, so make sure you use your right.

If you gift money, give odd amounts

Odd numbers are lucky in India, especially numbers ending in 1. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that "1" signifies a new beginning, while a round number seems to signify an end. The second is that giving money in an amount ending in 1 brings prosperity because the extra number is a sign of growth.

However, if you are giving a cash gift, 501 Rupees will be much more appreciated than 500 Rupees. This tradition is still strictly observed in India, so add those coins for a delightful gift for the recipient.

Traditions and gifts in China

Chinese culture is known for being polite and respectful, as well as having a variety of unusual gift-giving traditions. Here are some ideas to make sure your Chinese friends will be happy!

Make sure the money fits this standard

You may have heard of the Chinese tradition of giving each other red envelopes full of money as gifts. But you might not suspect how many rules this tradition comes with. These are the following:

  • Only shiny new notes should be given - no coins or crumpled papers.
  • If the amount of money given begins with the number 4, this gift will immediately be considered inappropriate, as this number rhymes with the word for "Death" in Chinese.
  • However - if you want to make sure you go in the opposite direction, 8 is a lucky number, so the amount of money offered that contains the number 8 will be considered luckier.

Accept with both hands

Make sure that when giving a gift, you use both hands. The same goes for receiving a gift. Using one hand is considered impolite.

But whatever you do, don't give a man a green hat

Think twice before giving a Chinese man a green hat, as this particular accessory is a way of communicating that a man's wife is cheating on him. While to the Western eye, adultery may seem unrelated to green hats, the history behind this association in China is fascinating. The first belief is that during the Yuan Dynasty, relatives of prostitutes were forced to wear green hats to distinguish them. Another aspect is that the words "green hat" in Chinese sound similar to the word "Cuckold". You can choose any of these stories to believe, but whatever you decide, stop giving green hats to men, as its significance remains recognized among the Chinese.

Be sure to bring two tangerines for the New Year

The Chinese word for mandarin is "Kam" and translates to "gold". Therefore, they are believed to bring good luck and wealth to the household throughout the New Year. If you are a guest in a Chinese person's home during Chinese New Year, you should give the hosts two tangerines upon arrival. When you leave, you will be gifted with two different tangerines.

Don't give watches to the Chinese

A nice watch may seem like an innocuous gift, but before you give one to a Chinese woman, you should discover the hidden meanings that lurk beneath the watch's tongues. There are two: the first - the word "Clock" in Chinese is a homonym for the word "Death". The second is that some people will interpret it as a sign that they have run out of time on Earth. The connotations that can be drawn from a watch are frowned upon in East Asian culture, and so it is respectful to avoid buying this gift.

Pears = ... Divorce?

You probably don't plan to give your Chinese friends fruit as a birthday or Christmas gift, but as a precaution, follow this advice: keep the pears to yourself, because giving a pear in Chinese culture means that you want your Chinese friends' relationship to come to an end This is because "pear" in Chinese is identical to "separation".

Traditions and Gifts in South Korea Don't use red ink to write a South Korean's name!

You might be tempted to use this exciting and festive color when sending Christmas postcards to friends in South Korea, until you learn its somber connotations. In South Korea, writing someone's name in red ink implies that the person is dead... not exactly the most festive message to receive during the holidays, so maybe I've convinced you to avoid red ink pens.