A Brief History of Gifting – Part 2

Welcome back! For this week’s blog, we’re continuing our delve into the interesting history of gifting across the world! Last time, we left you in Ancient Egypt, today we’re picking back up in Ancient Greece!

Ancient Greece

The Greece are also to thank for our tradition of giving gifts on birthdays. In Greece, many Greeks believe that spirits would come and haunt people on their birthday, and so would give gifts to help ward them off. The Greeks also begun the tradition of blowing out candles on your birthday, as they did so in order to send a message to the Gods to protect the birthday person!

Ancient Rome

During the festival of Saturnalia, held on the 17th of December (later extending until the 23rd of December), the Emperors of Ancient Rome would receive gifts. This festival was created to honour the God Saturn, and would see emperors receiving gifts of good luck tokens and much more.

The Middle Ages

If you love food related gifts, you may have this time period to thank! During this time frame, gifts tended to be food-based and often demonstrated power. Additionally, books and manuscripts were expensive to make during the Middle Ages, so giving a gift of one of these items often showed commitment to the recipient.

During the Middle Ages, Dowry (gifts of money, property, livestock or other valuables) was often given by a man to his loved one’s father. This act was done as an exchange for the loved ones hand in marriage.

Native American Culture

‘Potlatch’ is a gift giving feast that was carried out in Native American Culture for many years. The feast was often present for birthdays, deaths and weddings. The event allowed the gift giver to assert their wealth and power by providing expensive gifts.

Gift giving these days is a mixture of all of the things it once has been, and we are pretty with where it is today! We have many cultures and years of the practice to thank for gift giving becoming what it is we now know and love so dearly. There you have it, a very brief history of gifting!

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