The art of gifting has been a part of our lives since forever and we express our feelings and emotions through this art. When we want to show our love for a person, or appreciation, or that we’re grateful to them for being a part of our lives, or just out of respect, we give gifts to each other because that is how we show that we care for them. We’ve watched our family give gifts to each other out of love and care but have you ever thought about how did this pattern begin?
The giving of gifts dates pre-dates civilization and it goes back to the origin of our species. The male chimpanzees have gifted items of food to their female counterparts because it was said that the more generously a man gave, the more easily a female would be attracted to him. So, even then, they knew what benefits they would get!
Leaders of tribes or clan would also gift something to their fellow people if they had contributed and helped their tribes in some way. In the Egyptian era, gifts were given to their Pharaohs for building huge pyramids. In the Roman era, tokens of good luck were given to each other. Different patterns of gifting followed in different times and cultures where it ranged from precious metals to rocks to domestic animals to accepting dowry which still exists in many places today’s time as well.
A ‘potlatch’ is a gift giving feast in Native American cultures that has been practiced since many years. The attention is on the giver in this particular custom which is observed on occasions like births, weddings and even deaths!
There’s been a history of the rich and famous giving lavish gifts to their friends or their beloveds-
King Manuel of Portugal gave a white elephant as a gift to Pope Leo X in 1514 to impress him! Pope Leo made the elephant’s caretakers feed him laxatives laced with gold when he had a little constipation and due to this, the elephant died at the young age of six.
The famous, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were brought to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, the second for his wife, Amytis because she was missing Media (Iran). The King created a garden which had all her favourite Iranian plants but sadly,it was allegedly destroyed in an earthquake in 2. B.C
The famous, The Statue of Liberty, was actually France’s gift to the United States of America in 1886. The statue was built overseas and shipped to the US in pieces. French politician Edouard de Laboulaye had proposed the idea as gift to honor US after the Civil war.
Now that we do know the history of gifting, let’s spread the joy of gifting, eh?