Why do we give somebody a coin when they give us a knife as a gift?

Do you know the tradition of giving a coin to somebody who has given you a knife as a present? Why is this done? Where does this tradition come from? Opinel will tell you all about it.
 

The symbolism of the knife

Knives have always been seen as powerful objects. They can be considered as weapons or valuables. In previous centuries, people who owned a knife had an important title or a certain power over others (the head of the family for example).

Basically, knives meant power.

Why does giving somebody a knife bring bad luck?

According to tradition, this powerful object should not be given as a gift. On the one hand, the gift giver loses their power, and on the other hand, the knife's blade supposedely cuts the ties between the gift giver and the gift's receiver. This could be a bond of friendship, a parental bond, or a romantic relationship... So giving somebody a knife is the same as wanting to separate yourself from that person.

The symbolism of the coin

The coin is a solid, metal object that enables you to ward off the bad luck associated with knife giving. It can just be a couple of pennies – the most important thing is to give the other person a coin, no matter what its value.This means the knife is considered as bought and not received freely, like a gift. The bond uniting two people isn't cut that way, and power isn't given away without compensation.

Whether you believe this superstition or not, Opinel advises you to follow a tradition that has become custom, and to exchange a coin for a knife you are given as a gift.

Photo credits: Antonio Janeski, Thierry Vallier, Jonathan Brinkhorst

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