We're working our way around the globe!
In our previous Friday blogs about cross-cultural gifting, we've established why finding a gift for your friends from other lands can be a more complex task than it seems on the surface. That's especially the case in a place like Hong Kong where customs differ from those generally held in the U.S. It's wise to understand certain social protocols before you select a gift and plan its presentation.
General Do's and Don'ts:
Hong Kong shares many of the same gift giving protocols as other Asian countries.
- Avoid the color white as it is synonymous with death. Do not dress all in white or give gifts wrapped in white.
- Do not give a gift wrapped in blue. Along with white, blue is considered a color of mourning.
- It is inappropriate to give a knife or other sharp object like a letter opener. This symbolizes severing a relationship.
- Do not give a clock as a gift. The words in Cantonese, "sung jung," sound like "saying farewell to a dying person."
- Don't give anything in sets of four. Four is a very unlucky number Chinese culture, much like the number 13 is in many cultures.
- Always refuse a gift several times before accepting it. If a gift is accepted right away, it can be seen as being greedy.
- The color red is considered a lucky color in Hong Kong.
- On certain occasions when money is exchanged, such as Chinese New Year or weddings. An envelope is always used to hold the "Hong Boa" (gift of money).
Personal Gift Giving
- When the Chinese want to buy gifts, it is not uncommon for them to ask what you would like.
- When invited to someone's home, always give your host a gift. As a tourist from another country, a gift from your native country is appreciated.
- When dining as a guest, don't turn a fish over. It's bad luck because it represents a boat capsizing.
- Always use both hands when presenting a gift.
- When receiving a gift, do not open it in front of the giver. (Some Asian forms of gift wrapping actually show what is inside, so opening it is not necessary.)
- A business gift should be reciprocated. Not to do so is considered bad etiquette.
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 Hungary!