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Mongolia’s greeting custom with khadag

2018-02-16 22:37:24

Mongolians greet each other holding a traditional ceremonial scarf called khadag on Tsagaan Sar, which is mostly white in color. Between the 13th and 15th centuries , lamb skin was used in greeting. Since the spread of Buddhism in Mongolia, greeting with a khadag became a tradition among aristocrats and monks, and later among the general public.

In modern times, the significance of khadag has been blurred, with people tying it around trees, leaving it behind on Ovoos (sacred stone heaps) and mostly using money to greet each other on Tsagaan Sar.

Mongolians have always respected and symbolized khadag, made of silk material and in the color of sky before dawn. When greeting with khadag, one folds it three times and wraps it around his right ring finger three times, holding the open side of the khadag towards the other person. This gesture simply means respect.

On the other hand, if the khadag is simply put on his hand, this indicates offering. Mongolians mostly use khadag to greet family members like their parents and grandparents as well as teachers. There are five different colored khadags; yellow khadag is for monks, white and blue khadags for parents and respected people, red and green khadags are to be kept and used in spiritual ceremonies associated with water and earth. Mongolians keep their five khadags with a leather strap and vodka, symbolizing wealth.

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