Souvenirs and gifts are significant in the Indian culture since gift giving is a sign of friendship. In many occasions, Indians give gifts that have traditional values to preserve the Indian culture. Different gifts are given in varying occasions because of their cultural meaning.Many Indians give gifts and souvenirs during their cultural festivals such as Diwali and Holi. When one visits India during these festivals, they should expect gifts such as homemade sweets which are also known as mithai. However, the western culture has influenced Indians to give mithai in the form of chocolates.(Image by Holi)
Jewelry also helps to preserve the heritage of the Indian culture. Most Indians believe that jewelry is intimate gifts, so they give them to very close friends. Lacquer bangles are also Indian cultural gifts that are common among married women. These women also wear other sorts of bangles that are made from gold or silver to portray their marital status. According to the Indian culture, married women should wear bangles. For this reason, bangles are also a significant cultural gift in India, so the next time you visit a married Indian woman, expect a bangle as a souvenir.
Handmade gifts are also significant in the Indian culture because they symbolize prosperity and happiness. Such gifts come in a wide variety for example, the handmade paper gifts, handmade decorating gifts, miniature paintings, handicrafts and jute handicrafts. Handicrafts are used to show various aspects of their history.
Indian antiques are also gifts given to visitors as a way of appreciating culture. Indians are proud of their culture, so they give such gifts to enlighten foreigners about various aspects of their culture.
India is a religious nation, so they also give gifts that have religious values. Indians may offer idols of their Gods as a way of appreciating their religion. They may also offer the artifacts used during religious ceremonies. Such gifts are offered during religious occasions.
Wall paintings with images of Gods also act as gifts especially for religious people. Framed photographs also show a warm and friendly gesture. Many Indians offer such gifts when they visit another family. When you go to India with your family and an Indian visit you, they may bring along a wall painting or handicraft, so it is also necessary to carry such a gift if you are planning to visit any Indian family.(Image by georges)
Brass gifts are also given for decorating houses. Many Indian households have brass items used for decoration purposes. Brass is mainly used as an alternative material to gold.
Gifts help to enlighten the new generation about the Indian cultural heritage. Indians also offer gifts to foreigners to show friendship and appreciation.
Familiarizing with the gifts is necessary because you need to understand the purpose for the gift or souvenir. Indians have a gift giving etiquette, so one should know the dos and don’ts to avoid embarrassments. When offered a gift, you should receive it with both arms to show appreciation. Gifts should also not be unwrapped when the giver is around.
Feature image by Stefan Brundige