Why Do Indians Add An Extra 1 Rupee Coin To Shagun Lifafa As Per Indian Tradition?

Gift-giving is an around-the-world expression of friendliness, love, blessings, and togetherness. Giving presents in the form of things or money is not unique to India, but is also strongly rooted in other cultures. It encourages relationships and allows people to experience the joy of a special occasion or event.

A key aspect of giving monetary presents is a behaviour that many people find odd. In India, instead of offering round amounts like Rs. 100, 500, or 1000, individuals give a minutely larger figure, i.e., Rs. 101, 501, 1001, and so on. This unique ritual is based on age-old beliefs and behaviours.

Numbers have long had symbolic meaning in many cultures and belief systems. In this tradition, the essence of “one” has great significance. Zero is often taken as indicating the end or completion of a cycle.

For example, the number ’30’ completes one cycle, while ’31’ begins a new number cycle. Thus, ‘zero’ contrasts with the essence of ‘one’, which represents a fresh start or a new phase. By providing an extra one rupee, gift-givers express their desire for the receiver to begin a positive journey, leaving behind any unimagined ends or closures. The additional rupee represents a new beginning for the receiver.

Shagun Lifafa

The Inauspicious Shunya

Hinduism shows the ongoing cycle of life and death, with ‘zero’ (shunya) being the end and ‘one’ representing the start of something new. Endings have a link with negativity and beginnings with hope. Giving money as a gift in amounts ending in zero, such as 500, 1000, and so on, has terrible repercussions. So an extra rupee is provided to ensure a new beginning.

A New Beginning

Traditions are heavily based on beliefs. Shagun is presented at important occasions such as marriages, birthdays, rice, and holy thread rituals. The celebrations support the belief in new beginnings. The ‘one-rupee’ represents fresh hope for the receiver, entering a new life chapter.

A Wholesome Debt

Festivals and gatherings are excellent chances to form and develop connections within communities. This was especially true in the days of our ancestors. To promote the communal spirit, the additional ‘one-rupee’ was viewed as a benign debt on the receiver’s side. They had to return it by accepting and attending the giver’s festivals whenever the occasion came up, maintaining continuity in social contacts.

Draupadi’s Akshaya Patra

Like Lord Krishna’s blessing of a vessel to Draupadi that always had some give anna (rice) for feeding everyone, the ‘one-rupee’ also represents a bit of remaining money for the receiver. The additional funds become a symbol of optimism that the dark days will pass.

Undivided Against All Odds

Marriages were the most common social event in the past. Guests wished the newlyweds strength in the face of difficulties. It developed as the concept of giving an amount of money that was not ‘even’ and could not be distributed equally. This aimed to guarantee that the couple didn’t fight over money and instead was successful together.

The Auspicious Metal Coin

The additional rupee of’shagun’ is always a coin since it is made with metal or dhaatu. The Ashtadhaatu, or ‘eight elements’, make up the human body. Metals are auspicious and represent Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu God of wealth. Gold and silver coins were often presented before steel and copper coins were created. As a result, giving a metallic coin adds to the festive spirit.

A Seedling That Blooms

Shagun is presented with the expectation that it will be used for the recipient’s benefit. However, the additional money is meant for investment. It also stimulates the receiver’s intellectual potential to create a lasting influence through minimal but ongoing efforts.

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Stuti Talwar

Expressing my thoughts through my words. While curating any post, blog, or article I'm committed to various details like spelling, grammar, and sentence formation. I always conduct deep research and am adaptable to all niches. Open-minded, ambitious, and have an understanding of various content pillars. Grasp and learn things quickly.

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