The practice of gift-giving has existed since the beginning of human civilization. That’s why it only seems natural to be involved in gift-giving during special occasions and is an experience that several cultures all over the world take part in. But have you ever wondered why we even give gifts to someone in the first place? The history of gift-giving is absolutely fascinating and intriguing. Find out how the practice started the way it has grown since then.
Gift-giving is considered to be one of the oldest human activities that trace back to the origin of our species, even before civilizations came to be. It is known that cavemen exchanged gifts to express their gratitude towards one another. Primitive tribe leaders would give away gifts as an act of appreciation for someone’s contribution. They would give things like animal teeth, tree barks, unique stones, or even food. Thus it has become a fundamental part of human behavior.
The ancient Egyptians were amongst the first ones to practice the tradition of gift-giving. The coronation day of a Pharaoh used to be an auspicious day as it was on this day that they were considered to have transformed into Gods and begin a new life altogether. In this ceremony, they were presented with abundant precious gifts such as jewels, flower grains, crops, and more. They even used to buy their deceased lots of gifts as a belief that the gifts would help them with their transition into the afterlife.
Amongst the other ancient cultures, Greeks were also the ones who celebrated occasions with an act of gift-giving. The unique form of expression celebrating the birth of individuals and showering them with gifts began from ancient Greek culture. They believed that evil spirits would haunt the birthday person, so one's relatives would visit and bring with them good wishes and gifts to protect them.
In the middle ages, gift-giving played quite an important role in social interactions in the form of celebrations, fostering political, and religious favors as well. Gifts were exchanged amongst rulers of different kingdoms, from patrons to churches and monasteries, on special occasions like New Year’s in the family, and weddings.
In India, the festival of lights, Diwali is one such occasion that has been celebrated for generations. It is especially at this festival that people exchange gifts with their friends and family with traditional Indian sweets and gift hampers.
In today’s scenario not much has changed when it comes to the act of gift-giving. Gifting in the modern day has in fact introduced us to a much wider range of gifts. It has become much more advanced and personalized to express our feelings however we can.
Why gift-giving is so significant is quite simple to understand. It allows us to connect and build relationships. The giver of the gift expresses their feelings as they choose just the right gift for the receiver to make feel important. It tells the receiver that they add value to the life of the gift giver and that develops a bond between the two.
You can participate in the act of giving as you celebrate the people in your life, from their birthdays, anniversaries, or even to people at work. Making connections with people around us gives us a sense of belonging and a feeling of satisfaction. This feeling is one that enlightens the soul and brings out the best in us. There is an old saying which goes, “it is better to give than receive.”