Week by week, 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 minefield of potential social and cultural faux pas. Stick with us and we'll help you avoid such frustrations (and embarrassments)... this week, in India.
Personal Gift Giving Tips:
- It is advisable not to give expensive gifts, unless you are close to the recipient. Normally, expensive gifts are given only by relatives and close family friends – and usually just for specific occasions, such as weddings. Since Indians try to reciprocate a gift, your gift is too expensive, it could cause embarrassment for the recipient.
- If you're invited to an Indian home, it's customary to bring the host/ess a small gift of chocolates or flowers. However, flowers have different connotations across India. A bouquet of roses, however, is the safest choice. If your host has children, taking a small gift for the child (a toy or a book) is always appreciated.
- Gifts are usually presented wrapped, but do not wrap your gift in white or black, which are considered inauspicious, or even unlucky, in some regions. Select wrap in festive colors such as blue, green, red, and yellow.
- Gifts are not usually opened in the presence of the gift giver.
- When giving money for any occasion, give an odd number value. The numbers 11, 51, 101, 501, etc. are considered auspicious numbers. Your gift will be most appreciated if it is in these denominations.
- Hindus should not be given gifts made of leather.
- Muslims should not be given gifts made of pigskin, or any alcoholic products.
- Indians appreciate gifts that are representative of your home region or culture.
- Take care when giving the gift of jewelry -- an item that is considered an intimate gift. Unless you are a family member, it may be considered inappropriate.
- Shaking hands is a common practice, especially with people that are accustomed to dealing with westerners. It is typical for men to shake hands with other men and women may shake hands with other women, but because of religious beliefs, it is rare for men and women to shake hands. If you are uncertain, wait for them to offer their hand first.
- When shaking hands be sure to offer the right hand, because Indian people consider the left hand "unclean". Use your right hand only when touching someone, giving out business cards, accepting anything handed to you, or when exchanging money.
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 Ireland!