Giving Return Gifts is an integral part of Indian tradition. No celebration or function in India is considered complete without giving return gifts to the guests. Do you know how this tradition started and what is the significance?
Ancient Indian scriptures teach that we should see God in the guests who visit us – Atithi Devo Bhava. The guests are to be treated with utmost respect and the God in them is to be revered. Many customs, which later got modified with time, were created around this faith.
Culturally, some of the activities which are expected from the host towards their guests are,
- The host should receive the guests with utmost respect by saying namaste with both hands brought together.
- They should offer the guests water to clean their hands and feet, and a neat cloth to dry themselves.
- The guests should be offered water or any drink to quench their thirst.
- They should show the guest an appropriate seat to sit in the house, which will make them feel important.
- The host should provide a good meal to the guests based on their ability, and no guest should never leave their home on an empty stomach.
- The host should offer clothes and money or ornaments to the guests when they are leaving.
When it comes to celebrations and functions, in the olden days and almost until a few decades ago all kinds of celebrations were hosted at home. As we used to live in villages and small towns, there was ample space to set up the venue in the backyard or the street. The guests used to be accommodated at home or in the neighbours houses. The guests were taken care of well as per the tradition and were attended to with utmost respect. When they are leaving after the function, they were usually given clothes as a token of thank you for gracing the occasion. The men were given a dhoti and women were given a saree along with tambulam.
With the growth in urbanisation and limitation of space, the way we celebrate our functions has been changing. We now rent function halls to celebrate the events, as our homes cannot accommodate so many guests. Yet, we retained some of the customs, albeit with a bit of modifications.
You will not be surprised that someone from the family of the host, will always be at the entrance of the function hall to receive the guests coming in. We don’t expect the guests to just find their way in. We serve lavish lunch or dinner, depending on the time of the event. No matter how busy they are with the function, one question any host in India is sure to ask their guests is, “Did you have your lunch / dinner?”. They will insist on you to eat and go. We take pride in feeding people. That hospitality is integral in the Indian cultural fabric.
Along with these, the other aspect we retained over the ages is to gift our guests. This has taken the form of return gifts, also known as favour gifts. We don’t just give any item, but look for something unique and utility based or decor based. Along with the gift, it is customary to put a blouse piece, tambulam and haldi kumkum. This is the traditional way of wishing prosperity for everyone by distributing tamboolam.
In today’s busy world, giving return gifts also serve as a token of thank you and appreciation for the guests, for taking time to grace our event. The guests might forget most details of the event after a few weeks, but the return gift you give them will always act as beautiful token of your hospitality.
There are numerous varieties of products which can be given as return gifts. At The One Shop, we curate the best of those return gifts and make them available for you online, so that you can order them from the comfort of your home where ever you are in the world. We keep the Indian tradition of gifting alive and keep you connected to your roots. Whether you are looking for wedding return gifts in the USA, or housewarming return gifts in Australia, whether it is baby shower return gifts in UK or birthday return gifts in Singapore – The One Shop is just a click away to deliver your choice of the best return gifts to your door step.