One tradition that throws me for a loop every time I'm confronted with it is the requirement that whomever is celebrating a birthday, a promotion, the birth of a child, their engagement or wedding, etc - is the need for THAT person to throw a party. If it's my birthday, it's my responsibility to bring a treat for my colleagues. Granted, not much different then we did back in our school days, but the list goes on.
My boss was recently promoted. The first question everyone asked after congratulating him, was "When's the party?" In my Western mindset, we should be treating him. He's the one that earned the promotion. Until one treats, after such an occasion, they won't hear the end of it. I had to listen to my co-workers ask my boss multiple times a day for almost 2 weeks when he was treating us. Finally he closed the book on that on Friday. If nothing else, my ears are appreciative.
I remember being so irritated after my wedding when being asked this question. People were down right pushy about it. Hey - I hand delivered your invite, I followed up both verbally and via email and text prior to my wedding reception. You had alternate plans. You didn't come. Now you're asking me where's your party? Excuse me, I just spent 8 lakhs on a party. Sorry you couldn't make it, but the buck (or rupee in my case) stops here.
Most recently a colleague that joined the same day I did completed his notice period and his last day in office was Friday. He's headed to the US for his MBA, which is a huge accomplishment and something he worked very hard to earn. Now in my mind, I should be giving him a gift, as a congratulatory token of all he's accomplished and will accomplish. But instead, he presented me with a very nice gift and promises of plans for dinner out next weekend. I feel like a schmuck because I should have given him something. I had the thought prior to his last day in office, but when someone's headed to the US, what on earth would you give them from India? Now, I'll feel like a bigger schmuck if I give him something because it might seem like it's only in response to his gift to me. How it's actually viewed is beyond me though so we'll see. Maybe that is reversed as well.