Meals, Clothing Code & Gifts

Gift giving is customary in India, and is seen as a sign of friendship. However, it is generally not expected at the first meeting

It is advisable not to give expensive gifts, unless you are very close to the person

Large and expensive gifts are given only by family friends and close relatives

Use red, yellow, green or blue coloured wrapping paper. White and black colors are considered inauspicious

Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver

If you are invited to an Indian’s home for dinner, you must take some kind of gift, such as a box of chocolates or flowers

If you are visiting an Indian during a festival, it is customary to carry a box of sweets

If you have worked or lived with Indians, a framed photograph with them as a gift would be viewed as a warm and friendly gesture

If you are planning to give flowers, do check with the florist as to what would be appropriate

Drinking alcohol is culturally not accepted in most parts of India

Be cautious in giving a leather item as a gift. Since many Hindus are vegetarians, they may not appreciate items made of leather

Mostly, business meals are organized in either high-class restaurants or in five-star hotels

Most restaurants have separate smoking and non-smoking sections, and you must select the space according to the preference of your guests

Toasting is not a normal custom in India. However, in business meals where drinks are served, it is normal for the host to toast by raising the glass and saying ‘cheers’

If a business associate invites you for a meal, unless it is an o

A jewelry item is considered an intimate gift

Traditional Indian dishes are eaten with the hands. When it is necessary to use your hands, use only your right hand, as the left hand is considered unclean

Offering food from your plate to another person is not culturally acceptable, since this practice is seen as ‘unclean’

Drinking is prohibited among Muslims, Sikhs and in many other Indian communities

Traditional Indian women, regardless of their religion, don’t smoke or drink

Small gifts are often given and received – this is usually part of the relationship

Gifts should be wrapped and not opened in front of the giver.

Business lunches are preferable to dinners in India

fficial function, it is customary to arrive a few minutes late

Businesswomen can take Indian businessmen out for a meal, without causing awkwardness or embarrassment. A male guest, however, may insist on paying for the meal.

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