Moldovan Gift Giving

Main piece: So, um… we have traditions when it comes to gift giving. If someone gives you a wallet as a gift, the wallet can’t be empty. They have to put like a dollar or a coin or something. And if somebody gives you a watch, you have to give them some kind of money in return to repay the gift. The watch is not so good as a gift because it kind of signifies that the relationship is going to end, it has a time limit.


Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):\

I observed. My parents did it, I’ve seen other people do it in my country. Someone gave me a wallet once, and I noticed some money in it, so it’s even happened to me. My relatives definitely showed me. I was kind of part of it because I was the one who received the gift. It’s just a tradition that because I already know it, I follow it. Probably if I didn’t know about it, I wouldn’t be so strict. But since my family follows it, and I follow it, I have a kind of obligation to keep doing it.


Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):

This would be any time that a watch or wallet is given, like an presents. Mostly during birthdays, but sometimes during Christmas if you were giving that present to someone.


Personal Analysis:

The concept of time in many culture is relatively sensitive. In this telling, a watch is symbolic of time- if you give a watch, you are giving away time with the person you gift it to. But, if the other person pays for it, through whatever symbolic value placed upon the gift, time is essentially bought. With a wallet, emptiness symbolizes a concept that it may never be filled, that the receiver of the gift may never have the money to fill it. In this sense, the present is practically worthless. However, I assume that placing a few bills or coins in the wallet assures that it will be filled at some point, and attract more money in the future.