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The silk scarf is used by Tibetans and some Mongolians in their daily ritual interactions such as worship and welcome, gifts, etc. Presenting Khada is a traditional Tibetan practice that reflects greeting, congratulation and respect. The silk Khada is offered as a gift to guests during weddings, funerals, visits to seniors, worship of Buddha statues, and daily communication etiquette.

Khada is a long piece of silk that is offered as a gift to guests during weddings, funerals, visits to seniors, worship of Buddha statues, and bidding farewell to guests.

This gesture is a symbol of purity, loyalty, faithfulness, and respect for the recipients. In fact, it is believed that one must present Khada in a monastery before paying homage to the Buddha statues.

Material for Khada

Khada is made of raw or loosely woven silk and comes in Eight auspicious patterns such as lotus, Vase, umbrellas, and conch. Although the quality of the material varies, the intention to express good wishes is what matters most. Khada can be as long as 3 or 4 meters or as short as half a meter and is usually white, which symbolizes purity and luck. However, a five-coloured Khada is also valued as a gift, representing the sky, cloud, earth, water, and Fire. Those coloured Khada can only be presented on special occasions.

The way Khada is presented varies from person to person. Typically, the presenter will take the Khada with both hands, lift it to shoulder level, reach out, bend over, and pass it to the recipient, ensuring that the top of their head is level with the Khada. The recipient should receive it with both hands. For seniors or elders, the Khada should be lifted over the presenter’s head and placed in front of their seat or feet. For counterparts or subordinates, the Khada can be hung around their necks.

Presenting Khada is a common practice in Tibet, even in correspondence. Mini Khadas are often enclosed in letters as a greeting and expression of good wishes. It is also common for Tibetans to carry several Khadas with them when they go out, in case they encounter friends or relatives and wish to offer a gift.

What do different colours of Khada mean?

Different colours of Khada have different effects, as follows:

White

White means auspicious, pure, sincere, and honest. It is commonly used in various social affairs and occasions such as pilgrimages and celebrations, and in a wide range of daily activities.

2. Blue

Blue indicates auspicious, purity, affection, and majesty. It is mostly used for weddings with wine, sacrifices to mountain gods, and protectors and other affairs and occasions, common name: is Chang Hada, meaning wine Khada

3. Yellow

Yellow means auspicious, pure, noble, and sacred. Mostly used for the highest ritual of religious activities, the common is Jaldar, which is Khada for pilgrimage. It is generally not commonly used in layman’s receptions.

What does Khada mean?

Khada is a common and noble etiquette for the Tibetan people.

Khada is a ceremonial silk fabric used by the Tibetan people and Mongolians and is a must-have for social activities. Long silk scarves used to express respect and congratulations are mostly white, blue, but also yellow.

Khada has diverse connotations depending on the situation. During festivities or vacations, Khadas are exchanged as a gesture of wishing for a joyous celebration and a contented life. At weddings, Khadas are presented to the newlyweds as a symbol of everlasting love. At receptions, Khadas are given to guests as a way of wishing them blessings from Buddha. However, during funerals, Khadas are offered to express sympathies to the deceased and to console the bereaved relatives.

The origins of Khada are shrouded in various accounts.


One version narrates the story of the Tibetan ruler, Phakpa, who brought Khada back after meeting the Yuan Dynasty’s emperor, Kublai Khan. Subsequently, Khada acquired a religious significance by being associated with the ribbons in the garments of celestial maidens, signifying purity and authority.

About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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