Giving gifts is one of the acts that cements relationships in Vietnam. It is certainly not something that has anything to do with bribery and corruption. The practice of giving small gifts takes place on special occasions. That may be a birthday, anniversary or festivals such as Tet, Vietnamese New Year. It is seen as an expression of gratitude, respect or appreciation.
A private gift from one partner to another will always be done privately. If it is a business gift, not bribery remember, then that will also be done when no one else is present. If there is something for the whole office, then this should be done with everyone present.
Remember that the Vietnamese are superstitious. If you are travelling in Vietnam and you wish to thank someone who arranged your Vietnam tour package with a small gift, then do not wrap it in black. Black is regarded as unlucky and associated with death and funerals. If you want advice, then think about yellow and pink that are certainly regarded as lucky; these are colours that families regularly choose for decoration during Tet.
Something else to avoid is anything that symbolises cutting because it can be interpreted as cutting a relationship. Forget things like scissors, knives or indeed anything that is sharp.
Recipients may open a gift as soon as it is given. However, the recipient does not have to open the gift immediately; it is not part of any custom. However, custom does demand that thanks are expressed immediately.
If you are enjoying a Vietnam travel package, you may receive a gift from someone local. It is likely that a Vietnamese person will make light of the gift, even if it is fairly expensive. Boasting is a trait that is frowned upon in Vietnam. If you are invited into someone’s home, you should take a gift of some kind. It does not need to be anything too expensive;fruit, chocolate and liquor are all suitable. It may be that your host politely refuses to accept initially because he or she does not want to appear to be greedy. Just be patient and in the end the gift will be accepted with thanks.
The other aspect of ‘’gifts’’ may be more commonly known as offerings. On occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries of death or festivals such as Tet, members of a Vietnamese family will put gifts on an altar for ancestors. Some made of paper will be burnt so that they can ascend to the ancestors for them to enjoy.
Relationships with ancestors, other members of the family and close friends are important in Vietnamese culture. One of the ways that this is manifested is in the giving of gifts, no matter how small. No one tries to outdo anyone else by intentionally giving something bigger or more expensive than another. It is the thought and the action of giving that is important. There are many ways in which the Vietnamese can teach other nations to behave in today’s world.