Depok, West Java (ANTARA) - The tradition of sending gifts or hampers, especially on religious holidays, has existed for a long time in Indonesia, a cultural expert from the University of Indonesia (UI), Agus Aris Munandar, has said.

"The tradition of gifting someone started from the making of offerings to Adikodrati (prehistoric belief in supernatural powers)," Munandar told ANTARA here on Wednesday (April 19, 2023) evening.

According to him, the practice of sending gift packages is an inseparable part of Indonesian culture.

Ahead of Eid al-Fitr, Indonesians are keen to follow the tradition of sending gift packages, which usually contain a variety of attractively packaged foods or household items. The gift packages are usually sent to family members, business colleagues, and friends.

Of late, the term "hamper" has become more popular than “parcel,” but it refers to one and the same thing.

Indonesian society in prehistoric times followed a simple culture, with people’s beliefs centered on the supernatural realm and all forms of divine powers, Munandar explained.

In fact, supernatural powers were considered the highest form of power and were believed to be the determiners of the course of life.

Thus, prehistoric society in Indonesia always upheld a respectful and religious culture, which manifested in the habit of giving to society in the form of money for religious activities, donations for religious ceremonies, and alms.

Over time, the concept of giving to society developed toward the social side in the form of the mandatory tribute or tax used for common interests, potlatch or a gift-giving feast, awards, and souvenirs.

"(The tradition of gifting) then developed into a function in socializing," the cultural expert said, noting that the exchanging of hampers is a vital part of Indonesian social functions.

The giving of hampers is a sign of strengthening solidity, brotherhood, and friendship, he added.

Moreover, the tradition of sending gifts has become common, especially on special days like Eid. Greeting cards are also sent with parcels to lend a personal touch.

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Translator: Vinny S, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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