In each Kazakh family there is a package with gifts on the far shelf in the closet or in the grandmother’s chest. It stores chapan, camisole, scarf or mat (tissue cut).
Nobody can remember where this or that object in this package came from. No one can throw away or use things from this package. They have their own purpose – exchange. This is a gift currency.
Every time the Kazakh goes to Shildehana (the celebration of the newborn), the sundet-one (the celebration of the circumcision of the boy), the wedding or the birthday, his wife opens a distant closet, takes out a chapan, a handkerchief or mat from according to the status of the hosts of the event, sympathies and so on.
At the event, all guests bring their gifts in plastic bags and hand over to the owners, so the owners sometimes do not know or do not remember who gave what. And why? All the gifts are neatly taken by the owners in their distant closet and are stored there until the nearest one where the owners are invited. And since the acquaintances of the Kazakhs are the same, these gifts are roaming in the aul or city from house to house in a circle. It happens that a Kazakh can receive a piece of cloth presented to her by someone herself. Having passed a circle of friends, the gift can return to the mistress. But she does not get upset. Anyway, she will give it to someone else then.
The source of this tradition is understandable. In the past centuries, when Kazakhs were nomads and received goods from caravans by barter, natural gifts were the only way of exchange. Kazakh gave skins – received a Russian gun, gave jerky meat – received Chinese silk fabric. Then he gave his gun and cloth to relatives for birthdays and weddings. In Soviet times, in the era of total deficit, the tradition did not go away, but, on the contrary, it got stronger. For money in the store, you could not buy costume and shoes. Only through connections. The value of natural goods was higher than money. Therefore, distant cabinets were regularly replenished with hard-earned and therefore carefully stored fabrics, scarves, camisoles, malachi.
It would seem that times are not the same. Today in the store you can buy everything: from matches to the car. And not even in the store, but on the Internet, sitting at home. But the old tradition is ineradicable. In the distant closets, old pieces of cloth, moth-eaten handkerchiefs and shabby chapanas are still dusting.
I think it’s time for us to change this tradition and stop useless and stupid hand over of things that nobody wants to receive? Instead it is more practical and more modern to give a certificate from the store, where the birthday person can then choose the thing that is necessary for him. It is much more convenient before the wedding to organize the list of wishes of newlyweds, and, thus, avoid duplication of gifts and purchase of unnecessary things.
In this case, of course, do not abandon the very tradition of gift giving, thus showing its location, coming from the heart.