Role of Return Gifts in Indian Society

RETURN GIFTS are the symbol of showing respect to the guests as they accepted the invitation and had been a part of the occasion. People, who are the host usually  purchase gifts for the guests according to their pockets. More other criterion play their roles while selecting return gifts. First of all the customer looks for some dandy gift that would be somehow different in choice from others. We focus on its beauty, elegance, color size, material, and weight and for whom the return gifts are to be bought is a matter of consideration. Finally, they match their choice to their pockets.


In the old days when there was no show off of the marriage ceremony except for the zamindar family, the invitees, and the groom parties were always conscious about the hearty reception on part of the bride’s family. The host is always ready to welcome his guests with palatable dinners, lunches, and other gifts which the groom’s party demanded. But there was no conception of return gifts then. Even we, the mid-aged people, when we were mere children noticed that a wooden pen inscribed with the name of the bride and the groom was gifted, though it became a custom of the rich. We, the middle-class people never bothered about it. We enjoyed the delicious treat only as we did not have such delicious dishes except for such marriage parties.

 It was true about birthdays. Except for our parents, none would remember the day and it was observed very nominally. Mother prepared “payash”, a sweet dish with milk and rice as it is the tradition that still is in existence. New clothes or storybooks were grand gifts that made us infused with the importance of the day. Sometimes relatives, playmates, and neighbors were also invited but I never recollect that they were greeted with a return gift. I always thought that the concept of a return gift is a current fashion to show off the affluence of the uprising middle class. But I am wrong, when I typed return gift in Google, it showed me its history.


 A return gift is actually given to the guests to show gratitude to share the joyous occasion with the host. It is also said that a newly married couple is considered to have a lucky charm. So it became a custom to gift something to pass the touch of the good luck of the couple who came to share their happy moments. Europe is considered to be a country where there was a tradition to hail the guests with a return gift. Obviously, they were the reacher section of  

 society. They usually gifted the costly gems and stones of the country.

IN INDIA– India is the land of hospitality and respect. In India, it was in practice, probably since the age of the Purana to receive the guests humbly and heartily. They were treated with the best foods and accommodated with the best. In fact, guests are always treated as God. That’s why there is a Sanskrita shloka ‘ Athithi Deva Bhava’.On any occasion, the guests are welcomed from the front door or entrance to escort inside. They are greeted with folded hands. They are fed under the supervision of entrusted persons who are allotted only for the guests to look after. Until a social decay engulfed us in breaking bonding and making nuclear family, the guests on any occasion were accommodated at home, especially in the rural side, they stayed as long as they wished. they were respected and honored. They attended the marriage function, blessed the couple, and enjoyed the celebration. The guests were also presented saree or dhoti as per the financial capacity of the host. Now when we reside at the apartment our space has fallen short for the guests, so they are put in hotels, or booked community halls, or marriage halls. Everyone is busy, nowadays, and guests also do not stay for more than one day, but the reception remains the same. Whether a thousand hazards the host has been facing during the function, they never forget to enquire of the guests Everything is ok? Don’t hesitate if you want anything.’ They are given return gifts while they are leaving.


A few decades ago it was the tradition to buy sarees, or garments as return gifts but now the conceptions have changed. Now the return gifts are lightweight, carriable that can be given in a special pack of ‘ potli’( that is specially made to carry gifts). People are now bent on eco-friendly handcrafted return gifts. They may be wooden key chain sets, jute wall hangings, bamboo soop art,   wooden golu dolls, golu temples, haldi kumkum sets, or mirror sets for any occasion. Navratri, marriage, birthday, house warming are the grand occasion to hail the guests with return gifts.

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