Gift giving, why don’t we give money in whole numbers?


People say that zero is inauspicious! The “Zero” being inauspicious theory is absolute hokum and yet we give gifts in cash in amounts rounded to one like, Rs. 101, 501, 1001? why is this done?

The concept is called the “Poori Dakshina”, this did not come about from gift giving, it actually came about compensating a priest who has had done a ceremony or any ritual.

My Grandfather who himself was a priest, responded to the same question saying that, when a ritual or a ceremony was conducted, there are several sub ceremonies. Now at the end of these sub ceremonies, the assembly of the priests are to be compensated to an amount directed by the head priest. Now the person for whom the rituals are conducted cannot keep exceeding the expectations, because say a typical ceremony is 4 hours long and you might be giving out 8 times for example, at the same time, one cannot give an exact amount as requested by priest, it is just socially awkward and generally is looked down upon. So the ingenuity of this idea was to say that you are giving more than what is asked for! by adding Rs. 1 to the amount.

Now the same concept crept into the practice of gift giving and amount that is gifted is again decided upon a few factors such as:

1. The kind of relation shared with the person receiving.
2. What would they do in return? (Remember big bang theory – on the reciprocity of gift giving?)
3. How you love them and their value position in your life.

Based on these factors a number comes out and to satisfy oneself to say that, I have done more than what the other must get/deserve. One just adds a small value over and above it. Merely a social exercise nothing with hidden religious significance.

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