What is it about gifting? Why do we gift? Why is gifting important? And why is Camino de Santiago jewellery often given as a present for someone walking El Camino?
You could say that we give gifts to each other because we’re supposed to, and this is often true – particularly on special well-known occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and so on. And we also give people presents when someone has achieved something – as a form of recognition (eg, acknowledgement of an achievement, or goal attainment). So, for example, we could give a friend or loved-one a gift for having walked the Camino de Santiago because we are recognising something they have done or achieved – an accomplishment; or, because they are a fan of El Camino.
And we have a lot of gifts like that in our Good Luck Gift Shop store.
But, giving someone a gift because they are ABOUT to do something? Is this normal? (For example, giving a present to someone who WILL be walking the Camino in the future?) What does such a gift represent?
It is quite normal to wish someone well with their challenges and adventures – verbally, or perhaps with a quick WhatsAp message. But how often does this translate into a gift?
In our Good Luck Gift Shop we actually see this quite a lot, particularly with Camino gifts. We can tell, because people often include a short message with a gift when they buy it, and we ship the present direct to the recipient with the message as requested. These messages often refer to the meaning of the gift – whether as a piece of Camino de Santiago memorabilia or souvenir, or because the recipient is a fan of the Camino, or more often than not, as an inspirational piece of Santiago de Compostela jewelry because they are about to walk the Camino.
And we have a lot of Camino de Santiago jewellery too, in our online shop!
So, Camino de Santiago jewelry is being gifted to someone walking the Camino in Spain, France or Portugal, as a way of offering encouragement, and willing them to succeed and have a successful journey, and a safe trip.
But, returning to the original question: Did you know that one of the main reasons for giving and receiving presents at Christmas time, is to remind us of the presents baby Jesus received from the three Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh? Yes, we all know that gifts are important at Christmas – but probably not for that reason nowadays!
There are of course many reasons for giving a gift. For example, we sometimes give people gifts to show them that we are grateful, and that we value the role they play in our lives. In this case, we give a present willingly without wanting anything in return: So, making someone feel special is as important a reason as any to bestow a gift.
And then there are Birthdays: As regards Birthdays (another of the traditional gifting occasions), history tells us that originally it had something to do with offering protection to the recipient.
People have always believed in good and evil spirits, and folklore has it that spirits gather around a person who is celebrating his or her birthday – dating back to the time when they were born. Years ago (and even nowadays in some parts of the world) everyone was afraid of these spirits, thinking that they would cause harm to the birthday boy or girl. And so, friends and relatives would gather around and wish them “Happy Birthday” so that their good wishes would protect them. In fact, in the UK, many years ago, when Britain was ruled by Rome, there was a God known as Apis (originally from Egypt and also pronounced as Hap-Hapi-Hapy), and it is believed that the word ‘happy’ in the birthday greeting Happy Birthday, dates back to this word ‘Hapi’ in Old English. For this reason, when you wish someone ‘happy’ birthday, you are actually wishing the God Apis to bring them protection and good fortune.
It appears therefore that, as in many things, it is tradition and folklore that lie behind a lot of today’s celebrations and commemorations and, in the case of Birthdays, it is probably because of yesteryear in ancient Britain when giving a birthday present was believed to bring protection, that the concept of the birthday party (and of giving birthday presents in general) has developed.
In very early days, only kings or prominent men were thought important enough to celebrate their birthdays in this way. But as time has gone on, us ordinary folks now celebrate birthdays too.
But perhaps we just want to give somone a present to say something special . .
. . like “I love you”!
Overall, hardly a day goes by without us wanting to pass on our best wishes for one event or another to a friend or loved one, and a symbolic gift is a good way of doing this. And seeing that walking El Camino is viewed as such a big event, people often give a little present such as a Camino de Santiago bracelet, necklace or earrings to send their friends or relatives on their way.
We have all grown up with various traditions, superstitions and beliefs. Whether you choose to believe them or not, it is undeniable that faith influences a lot of people, and much of our modern day gifting has roots in faith and belief.