Gifting is one of the most beautiful traditions and customs of the Vietnamese people. In the past, they simply gift traditional cakes and foods, share shrimps or fishes caught in rivers to each other. Nowadays, gifts are enormous in supermarkets, gift stores and bookstores. Do you think that a pair of shoes is a good gift for your friend? How about gifting a ring for your girlfriend? Shoes and ring are included in the list of 10+ Gifts You Should Never, Ever Give Vietnamese people. This article is unique and it helps you to avoid culture shock and choosing wrong gifts for Vietnamese people.
Read more about Vietnamese Gifts Etiquettes – the ultimate guide to gifting in Vietnam.
Shoes mean “hài” which is pronounced the same way as “hai” (complaint). Some people in Vietnam believe that their boyfriends/girlfriends will leave them after receiving and wearing the shoes they gift.
Sharp items such as knives, scissors, nail clippers, swords, razors can “cut” or “break” the relationship between receivers and givers.
In Vietnam, handkerchiefs are used to dry tears or sweat so that it represents sadness and difficulties.
A suitcase can break up a couple because it means one of them will pack the suitcase and go far away.
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Gifting underwear to girlfriends in some countries is a great idea but it is impolite in Vietnam. Your Vietnamese girlfriend may misunderstand that you disrespect her.
The ring represents the marital relationship at Tet festival. You can gift your girlfriend a ring on other occasions.
Instead of gifting money, you can gift supermarket/travel/restaurant vouchers.
Empty wallet represents lack of money, fiscal deficit or bankrupt. So that you should not gift a brand new wallet to a Vietnamese person. You can unbox the wallet, put a banknote into the wallet then wrap it before giving to the receiver. The wallet with money brings good luck to the receiver.
The fish tank which is bought by the host is a good item to arrange because it brings fortune and wealth to the house. However, it can not be gifted. A fish tank can bring bad luck to the receiver.
God of Wealth
God of Wealth represents prosperity and his statues are usually arranged in altars. Similar to fish tanks, God of Wealth statue should not be gifted.
Watches remind Vietnamese old people about their ages. So that some elderly people in Vietnam do not like to be gifted watches. If you gift a Vietnamese person a watch, you hope him/her to die soon.
“Ô dù” (umbrella ) also means “phân tán” (distribution) so that an umbrella can break off the relationship between givers and receivers.
Pear or plump
Fruits are favorite gifts in Vietnam thanks to their health benefits. Pears (lê) and plumps (mận) are pronounced the same way as separated (chia ly). So that they are not good gifts.
Red and white pillar candles, red glass candles are used at funerals and pagodas and they should not be gifted in Vietnam.
Fabric doll and mask
Fabric dolls and masks which can be easily bewitched so that Vietnamese people do not like to be gifted them.
Similar to fabric dolls, antiques can be bewitched and bring bad luck to receivers.
Troubles come after receivers use the pillows they were gifted. However, lovers or family members can gift each other pillows.