So, do you really think that gift-giving traditions can differ from country to country or are they more or less the same? Before we dig any deeper, let’s do a little test.
o Students in Russia usually bring gifts: sweets, books, etc. to your teacher on the first day of school, September 1. -But
o Family members exchange valuable gifts during the Christmas celebration. -But
o It is normal to celebrate one’s birthday both at home and with colleagues at the office. -But
o When meeting close friends or relatives at the airport or train station, Russians bring flowers. -But
o Men deliver gifts to women both at work and at home for March 8, International Women’s Day. -But
o The number of flowers that are presented to a Russian for a special occasion is inconsequential. -But
So what is filing and when is the right time to do it?
March 8, International Women’s Day, is very special for any Russian woman. Men are showering women with gifts of all kinds; however, flowers are almost always mandatory. As a general rule, no lady goes without a present as the men at work organize small gifts for all the ladies in the office, dads buy something special for their daughters, husbands for wives, etc. Having lived in North America for 7 years, I still look forward to this day and always look for a surprise from my love (I’ll make sure you read this article).
New Year along with Christmas are among the most favorite holidays, but there is no real tradition of exchanging valuable gifts. Children are the recipients of gifts and there are many services with Ded Moroz dressed up, Grandpa Frost the Russian Santa Claus, and his granddaughter Snegurochka the Snow Maiden visiting their home on New Year’s Eve and congratulating the children .
Recently it has become common to give a young couple money in an envelope as a wedding gift. Just keep in mind that when going to a wedding, one should seriously think about the gift and make it substantial. The concept of gift registry does not exist in Russia, so talking to newlywed relatives will help make a more informed decision. Bed linen, cutlery sets, dishes, etc. They will be some of the appropriate examples for wedding gifts.
As in any other place, gifts are presented on a birthday, which is often celebrated not only with family, but also with colleagues. The birthday boy or girl is the one to bring some teas, wine, appetizers, while others usually collect money and receive an important gift from the whole group and, as always, flowers!
The attitude of the Russians towards flowers is very special. You may already know that only live flowers can be featured. It is not acceptable to give a single flower, no matter how beautiful it is. And always make sure you have an odd number of flowers, usually 3, 5, or 7. Even-numbered bouquets are brought only to funerals. And don’t forget the color! Russians are a sentimental and symbolic people: white represents innocence while red symbolizes victory. Yellow flowers are rarely present due to the color associated with separation and betrayal.
On the first day of school, September 1, all students in Russia bring flowers to their teachers, which has been a long tradition. My friend here in the US had a similar question when she sent her 7-year-old son to school: Do you bring flowers to teachers in the US for the first day of school? She decided to stay away from this Russian tradition and would have stood out to others as someone trying to gain influence.
Now let’s see what can be presented as a gift. Remember a Russian saying “The gift is small, but love is everything”, which means that it is not about the value of the gift, but about love, attention, time spent on finding the right gift. When presenting a gift, we often say, “I know you like this particular chocolate/wine/perfume, so I decided to buy it…” or “I realize how flattering this color is on you, so… .” Every gift for a Russian is symbolic and should have some meaning. If you pay attention and keep thinking about the person you are buying it for, it will be perfect big or small. The love, attention and warmth of your heart will be the most precious memory of any gift. Hmmm, maybe we’re all more similar than I thought at first…