India has long practised the art of gift-giving. In ancient times, they gave grain, textile, cattle, and money in the form of gold and silver to their recipients.
Today, gift-giving is still very much alive with certain practices and customs for it. It’s necessary to follow them to earn the person’s friendship and trust in a casual or business sphere.
Cutting to the chase, let’s go on!
Correct Ways to Give a Gift in India
- Always give and receive a gift using the right hand. That’s because the left hand is perceived as unclean, being used to cleanse oneself when going to the bathroom.
- Give gifts appropriate to the occasion and the person’s tastes.
- Practical gifts like clothing, blanket, flashlight, food, among others, make great gifts.
- Indians appreciate perfume gifts.
Gift-Giving Traditions in India
- It is customary to bring a gift to an Indian host or hostess when invited over to their house. You can give them lovely fresh blooms and delicious chocolates.
- Gifts are normally not opened in front of the giver and you should do the same. This is to show politeness and indicate acceptance as the person may not like the gift.
- If a man gives a gift to a woman, saying it is from him and his family, like his wife, mother, or sister, is a traditionally good practice.
Business Gift-Giving Customs in India
- If you choose to gift a business partner or colleague, you can go for high-quality food or souvenirs from your country.
- Give a thoughtful business gift only such as a Snicker bar, notebook, and pen. Sending an expensive item can be viewed by employees as bribery.
Things to Avoid for Gift-Giving in India
- Since cows are venerated animals in India, you should refrain from sending any kind of leather gift. Even if they aren’t made from cows, it makes that suggestion.
- Likewise, there are Muslim people in India. So don’t give them any food whose ingredients include pigs or any of their parts.
- Don’t give a necklace, bracelet, ring, or earring as a gift unless you’re courting that woman. This gesture is quite intimate and can be interpreted as such.
However, it’s totally fine to give a jewellery gift if you’re a woman or a relative of the recipient.
- All white flowers are a no-no since they are used only for sympathies and funerals.
- Avoid giving monetary gifts which end in zero, such as ₹1,000 or ₹2,000. Make it end in 1, for example, ₹1001 or ₹2001, as zero signifies an ending, whereas one means a blessing.