The modern India’s economy relies heavily on tourism and hospitality Industry. With the spirit of “Atithi devo bhava” (Banerjee, 2008, pp. 372), which means “Guest is God”, Indian treats their guest with enthusiasm and passion. One of the example of the special features that make visitors feel warm and being care is receiving garland from host family. In Indian’s knowledge, garland, or lei in India, is a tool to express the thankful and joyful to honourable person.
In hospitality, guests are the one they respect most. Alexis (eHow, 2012, para. 2), Bosrock (1994, cited in eDiplomat, para. 5) and India Travelite (Indiatravelite, para. 8) note that giving garland to guests is a way to give the message of respect and honour from host. Making a garland requires complicated procedure.
Saveoncrafts (Saveoncrafts, n. d. ) discuss about the detail of how to make different kinds of garland, some of which demand much time. Siddharth (Instructables, 2010) use pictures to demonstrate the complexity of making flower garland.
With the numerous steps in the making of a garland, Indian shows their sincere and effort in treating their guest in a superior way.Therefore, garland itself can be seen as a feature to show their hospitality. Applying Hofstede’s cultural dimension, this can be seen as high Power distance, with the index of 77 (Hofstede, 2001, pp. 57). By Hofstede (2001, pp. 83-84), a region with high Power distance means there is an unequal distribution of power or social status and is acceptable to that society.
Such society can be said to have a strong hierarchy, with large gap in respect and authority in different status. The feature of high power distance index can also be experienced in the hospitality industry.With the warm message behind garland, Indian treats the guest as predominant. They use flower garland, which often used in traditional festivals, to please their guest. This attitude towards visitor meets the meaning of “Guest is God”. Thus, there is a difference of status in between host and guests.
The guests represent a premium status and host has to take good care about them. By examining the way India treats their visitors, one can easily see that there is a strong respect and appreciation from the host up to guests.As mentioned above, making flower garland involve numerous steps which are quite complicated, still Indian host spend their time in doing it. Giving a garland to guests is only a tiny action, but the meaning behind it gives a memorable experience to them. Guest may feel comfortable and willing to come again in the future. These are significant symbols of delivering a warm blessing to their distinguished guests.
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