Customary Gifts & Western Gifts for Visiting Romanians

by Elizabeth Hannigan

Hosting guests from another country is fun, and it can also be edifying. You'll get the chance to learn all about someone else's culture and perhaps try some new foods or games. If you're hosting friends from Romania, they'll probably bring you some gifts. Surprise them with some small favors they can take home.

Traditional Gifts

It is customary when visiting a Romanian home to bring wine, chocolates, cheese or flowers. In particular, bring an odd number of flowers, but not 13, and save the red roses for your romantic interests. Romanian hosts usually do not buy gifts for their guests, but if you want to get your Romanian guests a treat, they won't be confused or offended. Choose something modest. Romanians frown upon expensive gifts, and your pricey gift could even be perceived as some sort of bribe. If your Romanian guests are business contacts, give them pens or coffee mugs with your company logo on them. This is the sort of gift that Romanian businesspeople exchange with one another.

Western Gifts

Although it may sound strange to Americans, Romanians love to receive Western cosmetics as gifts. Romanians can't find the same brands at home and are eager to try American makeup. Gifts including body lotions, face creams and all sorts of beauty tonics would also be appreciated. Even Romanian men appreciate things like aftershave. If you are very close with your Romanian guests or someone is celebrating a birthday or special occasion, Western clothes would also be very much appreciated. Things that seem common to you seem exotic to your Romanian visitors. Remember, however, not to buy anything so expensive that it makes your guests uncomfortable.

Presentation

Always wrap your gifts. Even if you are gifting a bottle of wine, it is customary for Romanians to wrap the gift. Your Romanian visitors might not open the gift in front of you, but if they give you a gift, you can open it right away. Note that Romanians might decline a gift the first time you offer it. This does not mean they don't want their gift. In Romania, it is considered polite to gently decline when someone offers you something. Just insist that they take the gift, and they should accept it with pleasure. If a Romanian person really can't accept your gift for some reason, she'll explain why.

Photo Credits

  • chocolate-box image by Jaroslav Machacek from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Elizabeth Hannigan began writing freelance articles in 2005. Her work can be found in "Orientations" magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in art history from the University of Delaware.