Every country in the world embraces gift-giving as part of its cultural heritage. We all know the traditional holidays and celebrations we hold in common with each culture, such as birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries, where the giving of gifts almost defines the day. But, as they say, it's a big world out there, and so some of these countries in this big world have gift-giving experiences outside the commonly shared ones previously mentioned. Japan is one of those cultures. And their custom is called Ochugen.
What is Ochugen?
Ochugen is best described as a summer gift-giving custom. During July or August, depending on which district they live in, the Japanese give gifts to people to whom they feel indebted. This indebtedness can mean actual monetary indebtedness but usually honors some business, profoundly personal, or spiritual connection.
The custom of "Ochugen" originated from Taoism, and it was combined with the Japanese tradition of memorial services for ancestors, initially making it a custom of giving offerings to relatives only. However, in the Edo period (early 17th century to mid 19th century), Ochugen became more generalized and grew to mean giving a gift to anyone for whom you feel a sense of gratitude or indebtedness.
Ochugen is wrapped with "noshigami," a piece of paper used to wrap gifts for ceremonial occasions. Then, a ribbon is printed in the center, and the word "Ochugen" is written on the upper half. Next, the name of the receiver is written on the bottom half.
Another reason for having Ochugen during the summer is to acknowledge how difficult it is to endure the hot Japanese summers. Ochugen offers an opportunity to pray for another's health and cheer them up during the season's heat.
The most common list of people to give Ochugen are:
Here at Arriving in Style Gifts, we may not practice Ochugen, but the Japanese idea of giving gifts during the summer to those you feel indebted to and grateful for makes perfect sense. And since climate change is increasing the temperatures worldwide, a little Ochugen recognition to help with the heat, can't hurt either. So, begin your own summer gift-giving tradition. Why should the Japanese have all the fun?
In Japan, giving presents is just as important as the gift itself. And they are almost obsessively concerned with attention to detail. But, of course, nothing says 'attention to detail' like Arriving in Style's curated gift boxes and baskets, generously filled with 5-8 specialty gift items to make your summer gift-giving the start of something big. So, let's celebrate summer before it's over!
Our CELEBRATE BOX/for her, with its thoughtful contents, sweet treats, cookies, chocolate pretzels, cake mix, party dip, Frose" a 32 oz. bottle of beverage mix, and more. What a way to celebrate summer!
Or, how about our LET'S STAY HOME gift box, a rustic yet elegant gift that promises to amp up the Thank-yous? Making a statement, the live edge, wood, Charcuterie board is just one of the unique gifts curated into this astonishing collection of upscale, artisan-made items and gourmet delights.
So, make the most of what's left of summer and show your gratitude!
And Happy Ochugen!