Gift Giving In Different Cultures – What Not To Give In China

15 Feb 2017

Gift Giving In Different Cultures – What Not To Give In China

by Bogsha Gifting

When it comes to gift giving in different cultures, there is virtually no shortage of peculiarities or unique traits to be found in different parts of the world. In a way, this is a great thing because it means we have a lot to learn about other people and there is also the fact that we can be genuinely surprised when we meet new people from different backgrounds to us. It may be that the gift giving culture in a different part of the world interests you, especially in comparison with what is on offer here.

Of course, while the main focus is on what gifts are traditionally given in other cultures, there may be times when some people need to know what not to give. If you are in a difficult country on business, the last thing you want to do is cause a scene by providing a gift that is deemed to be unsuitable or unpleasant. It may even be that the gift you offer has a negative meaning or connotation, so you want to make sure that you don’t give these items.

There are three gifts that you really don’t want to give in China, and these gifts are:

– Clocks

– Umbrellas

– Green hats

It may be that you weren’t in a rush to give a green hat to someone you know in China but you can see why clocks or an umbrella may be given at times by someone who doesn’t know the local culture.

The issue with “gifting a clock” is that this is a saying associated with death. This is a phrase that is used when describing the completing of matters at a burial ceremony and therefore is something that should be avoided when giving a present. There is an acceptance that watches are acceptable so don’t worry about giving that style of gift.


An umbrella could cause embarassment

The problem with gifting a gift comes from the fact that the Chinese word for umbrella sounds like the phrase which stands for “to separate”. It has therefore become an assumed part of Chinese culture that anyone gifting an umbrella to a person wants that relationship to come to an end.

You also don’t want to give a green hat to someone in China. This is because the phrase “to wear a green hat” comes across as suggesting that a man is in a relationship where his wife is cheating on him. This is clearly a gift that would insult or embarrass the recipient, even if there was no intent meant when it was offered.

The fact that all of these associations seem slightly peculiar indicates the beauty of different cultures and the art of gift giving. If you were a Westerner heading to China, you wouldn’t give this sort of issue a second thought, but it could cause an uncomfortable moment.

If you want to make sure that your gift looks brilliant, no matter where you are handing over the gift, be sure to call on Bogsha for the best wrapping and gift boxes.

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