The Story Behind the Extra Dollar / Rupee

Why do we add an extra rupee/dollar when gifting?

It comes from Sanskrit: shagun, meaning an auspicious good omen, or a blessing.

A gift of cash or check is given to be a blessing.


There’s a finality with 0s, whereas by giving $51 or $101 we are starting the recipient off to accumulate their next $50 or $100. Zero signifies the end while one signifies the beginning.

The number one represents:

1. A seed, meant to grow the next fortune and bring even more prosperity.

2. The good wishes/blessings/luck remain indivisible (as one is an odd number). Consider it as a bonus to the blessings.

Although this practice originated for wedding ceremonies, anytime there is a monetary gift given, it is customary to give one additional note/coin.


The number 0 was invented in India by a Hindu astronomer and mathematician named Brahma Gupta.


Enjoyed this article? 

Follow us on Youtube Instagram to view our weekly Theology Thursday posts!

Modi Toys is a children's brand of toys and books inspired by ancient Hindu culture. We exist to spread joy and to spark curiosity in the next generation through our innovative soft plush toys, illustrated children's books and free learning resources. Our weekly Theology Thursday series covers a wide range of topics rooted in Hinduism to help us better understand the origins of traditions, the symbolic meaning of rituals, and the stories behind Hindu holidays and festivals. The more we can understand "the why" behind this 4,000 year ancient religion, and make sense of it in this modern age, the greater we can appreciate and preserve our rich Hindu culture. While we take great care in thoroughly researching the information presented, we may occasionally get some things wrong. We encourage a healthy and open dialogue so we can learn together. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at to address any concerns. 


Shop Now