Chinese Don’t give an umbrella as a gift
In today’s international environment learn Chinese or Mandarin as a second language is growing in popularity. Learning Chinese offers more business opportunities in Chinese politics, economics, history and archaeology with it being the most widely spoken language in the world.
In fact, Chinese has become the new trending language or “the new English” according to the Robert Davis, director of the Chinese language program in Chicago. Therefore, along with learning the language, it is also imperative to also learn the customs that go along with the culture. What may seem as an innocent gesture or even a helpful offering could be the greatest of insults.
For example, In the Chinese culture, as in many others, hospitality to one’s guest is very important. In fact, this is how many lasting friendships begin. In return it is also important to always show your appreciation. But one gift that is not appreciated, or even acceptable on a rainy day, is an umbrella. You should never give an umbrella as a gift, especially to someone you are close to. Sansa (? san /san/) is the Chinese word for ‘umbrella’, and it is close to the word ‘san’ which means ‘breaking up. Giving someone an umbrella may show them your relationship with them has fallen apart.
How to help someone with an umbrella when it is raining
You may find yourself in a situation where you have a Chinese visitor. When they are about to leave, it may start raining. It is normal to offer the visitor an umbrella when it’s raining. However, when learning Chinese, you will discover their customs don’t see this as a gesture of kindness.
The best way to offer assistance in such a situation would be huddling under the umbrella with your friend. You will need to escort them to their car, bus stop or their destination. Once you have arrived at their destination, take the umbrella back home with you.
So, even on a rainy day, it is better to share your umbrella with your Chinese friend until you reach your destination and then take it with you when you leave.