Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Malaysian Gift Giving Etiquette

Gift Giving Etiquette

Here are some general gift giving etiquette guidelines:

Gift giving to Malays:

• If invited to someone's home for dinner, bring the hostess pastries or good quality chocolates.
• Never give alcohol.
• Do not give anything made of pigskin.
• Avoid white wrapping paper as it symbolizes death and mourning.
• Avoid yellow wrapping paper, as it is the color of royalty.
• If you give food, it must be “halal” (meaning permissible for Muslims).
• Offer gifts with the right hand only or both hands if the item is large.
• Gifts are generally not opened when received.

Gift giving to Chinese:

• If invited to someone's home, bring a small gift of fruit, sweets, or cakes, saying that it is for the children.
• A gift is traditionally refused before it is accepted to demonstrate that the recipient is not greedy.
• Do not give scissors, knives or other cutting utensils as they indicate a desire to sever the relationship.
• Flowers do not make good gifts as they are given to the sick and are used at funerals.
• Do not wrap gifts in mourning colours - white, blue, or black.
• Wrap the gifts in happy colours - red, pink, or yellow.
• Elaborate gift - wrapping is imperative.
• Never wrap a gift for a baby or decorate the gift in any way with a stork, as birds are the harbinger of death.
• It is best to give gifts in even numbers since odd numbers are unlucky

Gift giving to Indians:

• If you give flowers, avoid frangipani as they are used in funeral wreaths.
• Money should be given in odd numbers.
• Offer gifts with the right hand only or both hands if the item is large.
• Do not wrap gifts in white or black.
• Wrap gifts in red, yellow or green paper or other bright colors as these bring good fortune.
• Do not give alcohol unless you are certain the recipient drinks.
• Gifts are generally not opened when received.

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