It so happened that since ancient times people are subject to certain fears, which eventually develop into superstitions and spread to many generations. And although no one knows the reasons that gave rise to the belief that it is impossible to gift a knife, it is still possible to cancel the effect of a bad omen – with a coin of absolutely any denomination.
The tradition of giving a coin for a knife came from old England. Having received a knife or any other sharp object as a gift, it was necessary to give the donor a halfpenny so that the trouble would pass by.
For example, in China and Latin America, a gifted knife can be perceived as the end of friendship. It is not customary to give various kinds of cutting and piercing tools also in Arab countries. And in the traditions of the Mongols since the time of Genghis Khan, it is strictly forbidden to gift any sharp objects.
In the countries of Central Asia, a knife is considered the most expensive and prestigious gift. People in these lands are sure that all pointed and sharp objects have the power of protecting amulets that can ward off diseases and misfortunes. A knife placed under the baby’s pillow was considered an effective way to save his health. When an adult got sick, a knife was put on his head instead of a compress.
In the land of the rising Sun, it is believed that any knives and even scissors bring good luck and scare away evil spirits.
The Japanese also believe that giving a knife means protecting them from harm. For example, since ancient times, it has been customary to give any cutting object when a person reaches the so-called unhappy age. According to the Japanese calculation (the gestation period is counted for 1 year of life for an infant), it occurs in women at 19, 33 and 37 years, in men – at 25, 42 and 61. This age is called “Yakudosi”.
And even though the Japanese are not so superstitious now, the tradition of giving a knife when reaching the “Yakudosi” has been preserved today.
Another reason why such “abilities” are attributed to a knife in Japan is that the same hieroglyphs “cut” and “open” are used for the expressions “open a new page in fate” and “cut a path to happiness”. That is why knives and even scissors are an essential gift for many important events in people’s lives.
However, in Japan, a country that is associated with swords and knives, there are superstitions about giving knives. Some argue that any sharp gift can cut a friendly or business relationship. To avert bad consequences, the Japanese, like medieval Englishmen, disguise a gift with a conditional purchase for a coin of any denomination. The standard of politeness is considered when a coin is placed in a gift box, which the birthday boy, for example, must return as payment.
The knife plays a significant role in the culture of many countries. For example, in the initiation rites of some peoples, such as the recognition of adulthood. Often the knife accompanies its owner from birth, when the baby is put in the cradle as a talisman.
In Finland, if a young man wanted to propose to a girl, he put his knife in the sheath of the girl. If the girl did not take out the knife, a wedding was scheduled.
The knife has always been and remains the only tool that has practically not changed in its entire history, and most importantly, it has not yet lost its meaning and purpose. And if you think that a person will appreciate your gift, give the knife boldly. Well, if he is superstitious, just take a coin from him. And even better, as polite Japanese, put your own, which will come back to you later!