International Gift Giving Etiquette - India

GIFT GIVING IN INDIA* - Gift Giving Etiquette


General Guidelines

  • Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver. If you receive a wrapped gift, set it aside until the giver leaves.
  • Don't wrap gifts in black or white, which are considered unlucky colors. Instead, use green, red, and yellow, since they are considered lucky colors.

Appreciated Gifts

  • When invited to an Indian's home for dinner, bring a small gift of chocolates or flowers.
  • If you are staying with a family, feel free to ask them what they would like. Certain very basic, practical, items taken for granted in the West are unavailable in India.
  • For example, electronic gadgets, computer disks, bandages, instant soup mix, and knives may be requested. Chocolate, disposable razors, perfumes, toiletries, and household items such as sealable plastic containers can also be welcome gifts.
  • If you are sure that your Indian counterpart drinks alcohol, imported whiskey is usually an appreciated gift. The best policy is to purchase whiskey on the airline or at the duty-free shop, to avoid being burdened with the 27% tax.
  • If you give money to an Indian, ensure that it is an odd number. Usually this is done by adding a single dollar--i.e., $11 instead of $10.

Gifts to Avoid

  • When selecting flowers, be aware that frangipanis are associated with funerals.

*India Business Etiquette - Gift Giving.  Executive Planet.  30 July 2004                           <>.

Above:  The flag of India