March 29, 2014

Visiting and gifts

Time to write in English again!

Visiting is a big thing in Central Asia.  There are rules and norms and gestures that take a while to learn.  I remember when we arrived here 7 years ago a friend was explaining what to take with you when you go visiting.  It takes a while to learn the art of bringing something to the hosts...and I still sweat a bit over my gift bags.  

Our neighbor organized a circumcision party for their son and at the same time they celebrated grandpa's birthday.  It was a big party and all the neighbors were invited.  It is very common that close neighbors will collect some money and give it together as a present to the host.  In our neighborhood it was about 3,5 euros per house.  Naturally we participated with the others.  

Unfortunately I could not join the neighbor ladies when they went to the party at lunch time.  Our daughters were both in a gymnastic competition and I spend 5 hours watching the gymnasts.  I'll promise to show some great pictures from there soon!  

Anyway, I received a gift from the hosts just like the other neighbors.  
Now it's time to see what you receive from the hosts as a neighbor (there are different 'levels' of presents).  

First, the bag of Lola! :)  Gift bag in Central Asia usually means a new plastic bag in bright colors.  This Lola-bag is a very common bag in should have some in your house ready for those situations when you are giving something to someone.  You never give anything to anyone without a bag, and a pretty bag is important.  

Inside I found these: 

It's pretty obvious what these items are, but let's look at them with more detail anyway.  

Green tea.  Most people drink green tea, so you should always have some in your house for guests even if you wouldn't drink it yourself.  
Roll cake.  Not really from Switzerland.  Just to have something to put on the table when surprise guests arrive.
Scarf.  Deep green is not my color so I will save it for those times I need to give a scarf to someone.  
Bowl.  This is a pretty nice gift.  Most people would not give dishes.  This family is a bit better off.  
Small towel.  Don't be fooled by the name!  Towels, for some reason, are quite common gifts.  I might save this to give away, as I don't really need another small towel myself.  
Bread.  Always, always, always a right choice in your visiting bag.  There is always bread, you cannot go wrong with that!  I have written about the importance of bread in Central Asia here (in Finnish).  

Men visited the party house early in the morning.  They received something else as a gift.  My husband came home with the mysterious, deep pink piece of material.  Can you guess?  

Even thought the size would work, this is NOT a tablecloth.  If you receive one as a gift, don't put it on your table!

It has pretty decorations, but it's not handmade.  China is too close, I assume...

Dare to guess what it is?  Remember, it is for men!  

I will reveal the secret in the next post!  

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