We're working our way around the globe!
In our previous Friday blogs about cross-cultural gifting, we established why finding a gift for your friends from other lands can be a more complex task than it seems on the surface. If you're from the US, you will find Chinese gifting protocols fascinating and quite different from our own...
- Occasions that are (traditionally) appropriate for gift giving are Chinese New Year, weddings, and births. However, in recent years it has become more common for the Chinese to celebrate Christmas as a gift-giving holiday.
-At Chinese New Year, money may be given in a red envelope. The gift must be an even amount, using an even number of new bills. The gift is not opened until Chinese New Year is over, or bad luck will follow.
- It is Chinese custom to refuse a gift three times before it is accepted - AND - is customary for the giver to continue to insist that the recipient should accept the gift. If YOU are the recipient of a gift, you should also refuse the gift three times before accepting it.
- Gifts are usually not opened in front of the gift giver.
- Gifts should be handed to the recipient with both hands.
- Red is considered a lucky color in China. Plain red wrapping paper is considered one of the few safe choices. Gold, silver and pink are also suitable wrapping paper colors.
- Eight is considered a lucky number, so giving gifts in groups of eight is said to bring luck to the recipient.
- 88 and 168 are also lucky numbers. These are good amounts for money gifts.
- Gifts and wrapping paper in the following colors: white, blue or black
- Giving gifts in groups of four. (Four is considered to be an unlucky number.)
- Giving gifts of knives, scissors or other sharp objects. These can be seen as a symbol of the severing of your relationship.
- Extravagant or luxury gifts. These are reserved for romantic relationships.
- Giving or wearing a Green Hat. (If a man wears a green hat it indicates his wife has been unfaithful to him.)
- Clocks, straw sandals, storks or cranes, handkerchiefs, Chrysanthemums. These are all symbols associated with death.
Business Gift Giving:
Business gift giving traditions have fluctuated over the years.Gift giving used to be standard business protocol. Then, for a period of time, the sentiment shifted to viewing gift giving between organizations or colleagues as a form bribery. Recently, however, the Chinese have adopted a more relaxed attitude in giving and accepting business gifts. Always keep in mind that regional differences persist.
- Do some indirect research ahead of time to see if business gifts are considered acceptable for that region, and company.
- Be prepared that your gift may not be accepted due to business practices, though, keep in mind that it is the custom in China to decline a gift up to three times before accepting it.
- Luxury items are becoming a popular choice for business gifts in China. (Extra points for known luxury brands that are difficult to find in China.) The Chinese are drawn to symbolism and hard-to-find, high-end brands such as Gucci, Dior, and Louis Vuitton are well regarded.
- Repeating the same gift communicates a lack of thoughtfulness. Keep a detailed list of the gifts that you have presented and the names of recipients.
- It is customary to send a letter of thanks after receiving a gift.
-Unless it's a symbolic event, don't photograph the moment of giving a gift.
- If negotiations are involved, gifts should be presented once they are finished.
- The most acceptable gift is a banquet.
There are lots of other #funfacts to learn as our blog treks around the globe.
Join us here next Friday as we discuss gift giving in Costa Rica!