Traditii si obiceiuri despre cadouri din Asia – partea a doua

Lately I have noticed that vacations on the Asian continent are more and more appreciated, so I will dedicate another article to this territory, especially to Japan, where I really want to go in the future, I hope, not too far away ... Maybe you have already been there and would like to come back, maybe you have old friends settled there and you would like to surprise them the next time you see them, or maybe you just want to give yourself the chance, like me, to travel the lands foreign. It's a great time to experience holidays in another part of the world... You don't spend every Christmas at the beach, do you? Anyway, don't forget your loved ones from "around the house" and above all, don't forget that it's the season of gifts.

Traditions and gifts in Japan

The Japanese are considered to have a respectful, refined and polite culture and population, and their way of giving gifts or respecting customs reflects this. Check out some of their unusual gift-giving traditions below:

Wrap the gift well!

In Japan, expect to put more effort into gift wrapping than the gift itself, so make sure you wrap your gifts well and expect generous packaging with nice personal details in return.

Be careful when choosing flowers

Flowers are a classic gift and a thoughtful way to brighten someone's space. But, as they are, they come with their own language and it is wise to make sure you really know what you are buying and offering. In Japan, flowers with hidden meanings are lotus flowers, lilies and carnations, all of which are associated with funerals. Obviously, these flowers should be avoided on special occasions, such as birthdays or Valentine's Day.

The "Valentine's Day" holiday - twice

...and speaking of Valentine's Day, Americans might be surprised to learn how the Japanese celebrate this holiday.

In Japan, February 14 is a day for women to give chocolate gifts to the men in their lives (whether they are colleagues, relatives or romantic partners). Chocolate has two forms: Giri-choco ("Chocolate with duty") and Honmei-choco ("Chocolate of love"). Exactly one month later, on March 14 or "White Day", it is men's turn to resort to gifts with a higher value. Usually the value will be three times higher than the gifts given by women (due to the Japanese expression "Sanbai Gasehi" or "triple in return" referring to the obligation of men to triple the value of gifts received from the women in their lives .) These gifts most often take the form of white chocolate, white underwear, cookies or jewelry. So, why is this holiday celebrated in two days, in different months and not celebrated in one day like in the USA?

The origin story of this tradition is an interesting one, because "White Day" was only invented in the 70s. Before that, only women gave gifts on February 14, until a disgruntled woman wrote in a magazine to suggest that women should get their own day, a day when their gifts would be returned. The confectionery company Ishimura Manseido took advantage of this idea, marketing men's marshmallows, thus giving birth - March 14 "Marshmallow Day" - a day when men would return the gifts given to the ladies a month before.

As the tradition expanded to include a wider variety of white confections, the day became known simply as "White Day". You might think that this holiday is a marketing strategy that went very well - but we choose to call it "Two different excuses to eat chocolate".

Come back with an Omiyage

In Japan, it is a social obligation to give a souvenir (or Omiyage) as a gift if you were on vacation, as a way of apologizing for your absence. Forgetting to bring back an Omiyage for your friends and colleagues is considered rude.

Traditions and gifts in Thailand

Thai culture is full of traditions and celebrations, including the incredible Songkran, the Water Festival. Below you can find some of the most unusual Thai traditions when it comes to gifts.

Nine is the magic number

In Thailand, gifts given in sets of 9 will be considered lucky due to the auspicious reputation of the number among Thais. This reputation stems from the fact that when spoken out loud in Thai, "new" ("Gao") sounds similar to the Thai words for "Move on", "Let's go eat" and, most importantly … "Rice"!

Don't open the gift too quickly

It is not polite when you receive a gift to open it in front of the giver. Instead, it is customary to thank them for their generosity before opening the gift in private.

Traditions and gifts in Saudi Arabia

Nothing of gold can remain

If you thought gold and silk were luxurious, special gifts... yes, you're right. But in Saudi Arabia, it is wise to avoid giving such gifts to men, as they are forbidden by the Prophet Mohammed, who said: "Gold and silk are permitted to the women of my nation, forbidden to its men." Silver is accepted, however, so... there is still hope if you want to give jewelry.