Everyone loves gifts. Gift-giving maintains and strengthens relations between the giver and the recipient. Most of the times, the giver of the gifts eventually gets something of equal value in return even if it is at a later date. Gifting is a way to show appreciation and gratitude. Gifting is different from charity. One is to help someone because they have no other means or the poor and the needy need the gift/money to meet their needs. Whilst the other is doing something nice and loving and showing gratefulness. A can also been seen as an intention to show friendship and honor to the recipient, it can help to sever ties when a relationship between two people might have gone sour.
Religious occasions present the best time to gift people. During Christmas, Lent, Diwali and the two Eids that is Eid-Al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid-Al-Adha which marks the sacrifice feast, people often gift each other.
Gifting on Ramadan, Eid-Al-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha
As mentioned earlier, Eid-Al-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan. This is a month-long time of dawn-to-dusk fasting, prayer, self-improvement and reflection. The end of the holy month is culminated with a celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr where families and friends gather for feasts and good company.
The other festival, Eid-Al-Adha comes at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina by millions of Muslims. During the holiday, Muslims celebrate individually by sacrificing a goat or lamb or sacrificing a cow or camel jointly. The celebrations are often marked with Muslims breaking the fast with dates. Muslims dress up, cook special meals and spend time visiting friends and family.
Exchanging gifts during this time does not have any hard-and-fast rules. Typically, adults gift children with toys or money. Adults exchange gifts at their own discretion.
The festivals are a perfect opportunity for any individual to gift another because people spend a lot of time together.
What to gift during religious occasions of any kind
There may be other religious occasions besides Eid-Al-Fitr where you can gift people. Gifts can be as simple or as expensive as you want them to be. But they should not be really a show of extravagance but a sign that you appreciate a person. Children can be given toys. Adults can be given watches, clothes, flowers, photo frames or even religious books. Whatever the gift chosen, it must be well thought of and something that you would also like to receive.
Dos in gift giving during religious occasions
- Get to know a person first before giving or accepting gifts. It is good to know a person rather than just receiving the gift. This does not mean getting into the details of their personal history but it is important to wait until the first meeting to present a gift.
- When visiting homes during religious celebrations, you must carry with you a gift for the host or hostess.
- You must also gift the children of the host or hostess with books or small items
- Present gifts with both hands or the right hand only
- When you receive a gift, if you open it if front of people be careful not to insult the person even if you do not like the gift!
- Giving gifts to the opposite sex during religious occasions is a sensitive issue. It is better to gift someone of the opposite sex or attributing the gift to the partner who is of the same sex as the one receiving the gift. For example, if a man were to gift a woman, then they would have to say it came from a wife or girlfriend
- Double check your gifts to determine where the product was made
- Keep track of gifts received for long term friendships. With long term friendships, you should give something of value
- You can wrap the gifts mostly in gift bags or wrapped in cloth or scarf
- A thoughtful gift for example could be a compass so that the person can find their way to the next religious event like the pilgrimage to Mecca.
- You must express gratitude for any gift you receive.
- Don’t gift people with alcohol as Muslims do not drink alcohol and would see it as being offensive.
- For the good of you and your reputation, do not wait till the last minute! The humiliation of having to go to the store 15 minutes before meeting your friends/or family is never fun!
- Try and pick personalized gifts over generic gifts. Anyone can pick up a gift card (and sometimes this can be the best option if you know the other person won’t use any of the gifts!) but if some thought has gone into it and you the person something they were looking for or something that means something special to them, they will appreciate it more.
- Don’t gift someone with something that they can find around the street corner
- It is rude to refuse a gift
- Food and beverages are short-lived gifts therefore you should gift people with other longer lasting gifts.
Religious occasions are important times to gift people to just show gratitude and appreciation. Don’t shy away the next time from giving or receiving a gift.