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Presents For a Russian – Learn When and What Gifts to Present to a Russian Person – Russian Holidays
So do you really think that the traditions of gifts can differ from country to country or are they pretty much the same? Before going any further, let’s do a little test.
o Pupils in Russia usually bring gifts: sweets, books, etc. for their teacher on the first day of school, September 1. – Yes No
o Family members exchange valuable gifts during the Christmas celebration. – Yes No
o It is normal to celebrate a birthday at home and with colleagues in the office. – Yes No
o When meeting close friends or relatives at the airport or train station, Russians bring flowers. – Yes No
o Men give gifts to women at work and at home for March 8, International Women’s Day. – Yes No
o The number of flowers presented to a Russian for a special occasion is inconsequential. – Yes No
So what is it to present and when is the right time to do it?
On March 8, International Women’s Day is very special for any Russian woman. Men give women gifts of all kinds; however, flowers are almost always mandatory. As a rule, not a single woman leaves without a gift because men at work organize small gifts for all the women in the office, dads buy something special for their daughters, husbands for wives, etc. Having lived in North America for 7 years now, I always look forward to this day and always expect a surprise from my lover (I will be sure to make him read this article).
The New Year and Christmas are among the most popular holidays, but there is no real tradition of exchanging valuable gifts. Children are the ones who receive presents and there are many services with Ded Moroz dressed – Grandfather Frost, Russian Santa Claus, and his granddaughter Snegurochka – Snow Maiden visiting the house on New Year’s Eve and congratulating the children .
Recently, it has become 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 need to seriously think about the gift and make it substantial. The concept of a gift registry is non-existent in Russia, so speaking with newly married relatives will help make a more informed decision. Bed linen, silverware, crockery, etc. will be some of the suitable examples for wedding gifts.
Like everywhere else, gifts are given on a birthday, which is often celebrated not only with family but also with colleagues. The birthday boy or girl is the one who brings pacifiers, wine, appetizers, while others usually collect money and receive a substantial gift from the whole group and, as always, flowers!
The attitude of Russians towards flowers is very special. You may already know that only live flowers can be shown. It is not acceptable to give only one flower, no matter how beautiful. And always make sure you have an odd number of flowers – usually 3, 5 or 7. Even number bouquets of flowers are only brought 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 not often featured due to the color associated with separation and betrayal.
On the very first day of school, September 1, all students in Russia bring flowers to their teachers, which is a long-standing tradition. My friend here in the US asked a similar question when she sent her 7 year old to school: do they 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 from 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 the love is everything” meaning it’s not about the value of the gift, but about love, attention, 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 notice how flattering this color is on you. , so…” Every gift to a Russian is symbolic and should have a meaning. If you pay attention and keep thinking about the person you are buying it for, it will be perfect whether it is big or small. The love, care and warmth of your heart will be the most treasured memory of any gift. Hmmm, maybe we all look more alike than I first thought…
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