4. CULTURAL & HISTORICAL HERITAGES

MONGOLIAN CULTURE: SILK BAND – KHADAG

Khadag is long piece of fabric mainly made of silk. Khadag is something Mongolians use to show their highest appreciation and respect towards someone. If you were present in Mongolia during Tsagaan Sar you surely have seen someone greeting their elders using khadag. Khadags can differ from each other, not only by their color, but depending on the drawings on them and its length they are used for distinct occasions. If you look closely you will notice inspiring and inspirational pictures, thread designs and words that are printed on the khadag. For example, one kind of khadag is Ayush khadag; the drawings on it show image of a person. As for Nanjvandan, it has pictures of the sun and the moon and also various letters on it. The khadags have names Ayush, Dash, Sersh, Sambai, Nanzad, Nanjvandan, Dashvandan.


Before greeting someone with khadag people fold it three times and hold it in a way that the open side is facing the person who you are greeting. Mainly the youth give khadag to their elders with money on top.


However, khadag is not only given to elders to show their respect but also many people greet monks using khadag. They bow in front of the monk offering the khadag, the monk takes it and then puts it back around the worshiper’s neck. Then the worshiper keeps the khadag and honors it as they believe it brings good luck.


Another way of using khadag is people wrap their precious things that they worship in it. Mongolians usually don’t put pictures of their loved ones who’ve passed away or their gods directly on a shelf, they put it on a khadag first then on the shelf.

Piles of rock or ovoo that may be you have seen in the countryside also are full of khadags. These khadags are placed there as a sign of respect towards the sky; shamanism worships the sky. Even at celebrations such as weddings, people place gifts on top of the khadag. And women put silver cups with milk on top of the khadag to give to someone who is about to leave for a long trip or on an important mission.


Mongolians worship many things and khadag is a tool to show their respect towards them all. Therefore, we also honor the khadag itself. This khadag is mainly given to parents and elderly that you especially respect. This particular khadag is mainly used during funeral rituals. In total, there are five colors of khadag.



White khadag: This color of khadag represents the milk and stainless good heart and soul. White khadag is given to very highly respected people. If you noticed the governmental high ranking officials like the president and the prime minister are offered this color of khadag.

Blue khadag: Blue color stands for the sky and is most commonly used type of khadag as it can be given to anyone who respect. Even while greeting someone younger you can use this khadag.

Yellow khadag: This khadag is a symbol of knowledge and religion. Therefore, it is exceptionally offered to educational or religious teachers.

Red and Green khadag: The red is a symbol of fire while the green one is for the mother earth. These two colors of khadag are never used to greet people. They are only used for religious rituals.