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,
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
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.