So do you really think that gift giving traditions may differ from country to country or are they more or less the same? Before we take a closer look at it, let’s do a little test.
o Students in Russia usually bring gifts: candy, books, etc. for your teacher on the first day of school, September 1. – Otherwise
o Family members exchange valuable gifts during the Christmas celebration. – Otherwise
o It is normal to celebrate one’s birthday both at home and with colleagues at the office. – Otherwise
o When they meet close friends or family at the airport or train station, Russians bring flowers. – Otherwise
o Men present gifts to women both at work and at home for March 8, International Women’s Day. – Otherwise
o The number of flowers given to a Russian for a special occasion is inconsequential. – Otherwise
So what is filing and when is the right time to do it?
On March 8, International Women’s Day is very special for any Russian woman. Men present women with gifts of all kinds; however, the flowers are almost always mandatory. As a general rule, not a single lady leaves without a gift, as men at work organize small gifts for all women 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 beloved (I’ll make sure you read this article).
The New Year along with Christmas are among the favorite holidays, but there is no real tradition of exchanging valuable gifts. The children are the ones who receive the gifts and there are many services with Ded Moroz dressed: Grandfather Frost, the Russian Santa Claus and his granddaughter Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden who visits his house on New Year’s Eve and congratulates the children.
Recently, it became common to give money to a young couple in an envelope as a wedding gift. Just keep in mind that when you go to a wedding, you have to think seriously about the gift and make it substantial. The concept of gift registry does not exist in Russia, so talking with the relatives of the newlyweds will help to make a more informed decision. Bedding, cutlery, dishes, etc. they will be some of the suitable 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 birthday boy is the one who brings teats, wine, snacks, while others usually collect money and receive an important gift from the whole group and, as always, flowers!
The attitude of Russians to flowers is very special. You may already know that only live flowers can be presented. It is not acceptable to give a single flower, regardless of how beautiful it is. And always make sure you have an odd number of flowers, usually 3, 5, or 7. Even bouquets are brought only to funerals. And don’t forget about the color! Russians are a sentimental and symbolic people: white represents innocence while red symbolizes victory. Yellow flowers are rarely featured due to the color associated with separation and betrayal.
On the first day of school, September 1, all students in Russia bring flowers for their teachers, which has been a long-standing 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 on 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 the love, the attention, the time spent 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 for you, so .. . “Every gift for a Russian is symbolic and should have some meaning. If you pay attention and keep thinking about the person for whom you buy it, it will be perfect whether big or small. The love, the attention and the warmth of your heart will be the most precious memory of any gift. Hmmm, maybe we’re all more similar than I first thought …