Presenting Khada is a kind of very common courtesy. Khada is a long piece of silk used as a greeting gift. In Tibet, it is a custom to present Khada to the guests in the occasion of wedding and funeral. It is also common when people visit senior people, worship Buddha statues, and bid farewell to guests.
Tibetan CustomsPresenting Khada is to show purity, loyalty, faithfulness and respect to the receivers.
It is said that only after people present Khada in a monastery, can they pay homage to the Buddha statues. They are free to visit the different halls. Before departure, they will leave a Khada beside their seats to indicate that even though they have left, but their hearts are still there.
Khada is made of raw silk or silk and it is loosely weaved. Khadas have different kinds of auspicious patterns, such as lotus, bottle, umbrellas and conch. The material of Khada varies in quality. But people don’t care much about it only if Khada can expresses good wishes. Khada is of different lengths, some as long as 3 or 4 meters, some as short as half a meter. Khada is normally white because Tibetan people believe white symbolizes purity and luck. However, there is a kind of Khada with five colors on, blue, white, yellow, green and red, respectively indicating sky, cloud, land, river and the God in charge of Buddha dharma. Five-colored Khada is very valued gift which can be given to the Buddha statues or intimate relatives. According to the Buddhism teachings, five-colored Khada is the clothe of Buddha. Therefore, five-colored Khada can only be presented in some special occasions.
The ways to present Khada are quite different from person to person. The following is what people usually do to present a Khada: take the Khada with their both hands, lift it up to same level as shoulder, reach out hands, bend over, and pass it to the guest. Make sure that the top of one’s head is in the same level with the Khada. Only in this way, can you express your respect and best wishes. For the receiver, he should receive it with both hands. To the seniors or elders, you should lift the Khada up over your head with your body slight bent forward, and put it on the place in front of their seats or feet. For your counterpart or subordinates, you can hang the Khada around their necks.
Presenting Khada is very common in Tibet. Even when people correspond with each other, they won’t forget Khada. They always enclose a mini Khada in the letter for greeting and expressing good wishes. What’s more interesting is that when Tibetans go out they tend to take several Khadas with them in case that they may give them to friends and relatives they encounter in the journey.
Khada expresses different meanings in different circumstances. In festivals or holidays, people exchange Khadas to wish a merry holiday and a happy life. In weddings, people present Khadas to the bride and bridegroom to wish them love each other forever. In reception, people present Khadas to guests to wish the Buddha bless them. While in funeral, people give Khadas to express condolences to the dead and comfort the grieved relatives of the dead.
When it comes to the origin of Khada, there are various versions. One version has something to do with ancient Tibetan king Wangbasi. The king brought the Khada back after he met with the emperor Khubli Khan of Yuan Dynasty. Later people gave Khada religious sense saying that Khada was the ribbons in fairy maidens’ clothes and symbolized purity and authority.