Etiquette of Presenting Khata

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Cathy Zhang
  • Published April 9, 2020
  • Word count 566

Presenting Khata is the most common Tibetan courtesy to show friendship and respect. In Tibet, it is customary to offer Khata for weddings, funeral, festivals, and receptions, for meetings with venerable elders, worshiping Buddha, and seeing somebody off.

The action of presenting "Khata" varies from person to person. Generally speaking, it is necessary to hold the Khata with both hands, hold it high and level with the shoulder, then stretch forward and bend down to give it to the other party. At this time, Khata is level with the head, which shows respect to the other party and the greatest blessing -- good luck. The other party holds it with both hands in a respectful gesture. When presenting Khata to the elders, please raise your hands over your head, lean forward slightly and hold the Khata to the front of the seat or under your feet. For peers or subordinates, it can be tied around their necks. Offering Khata is so common in Tibet that even when people write to each other, they attach a small Khata in the envelope to express their blessing and greetings. It is particularly interesting that Tibetans take a few khatas with them for use when they go out, in case they meet relatives or friends who have been away for a long time.

There is no historical data to find out which dynasty it originated from. There are many folk tales. One of them is that Zhang Qian of the Han Dynasty went on a diplomatic mission to the western regions to pass Tibet and presented silk to the local tribal leaders. In this way, the Tibetan tribes think that this is a kind of etiquette to express friendship and blessing, and it is a great etiquette from the prosperous states in the Central Plains, so it has been used up to now. Later it was said that Khata was the ribbon of the fairy, and it symbolized holiness and supremacy. The people tried to imitate each other and gave Khata to each other, hoping that they would be happy.

Offering "Khata" means to show purity, sincerity, loyalty, and respect to the other party. It means different things in different situations. On the festival day, people present Khata to each other to express congratulations on a happy day and a happy life. Presenting Khata at the wedding means wishing the newlyweds a mountain of love and growing old together; When greeting guests to offer Khata, to express a pious, pray for the blessing of the Bodhisattva; Offering Khata at a funeral is a sign of mourning and consolation for the deceased family. The Tibetan people entered the gate of the temple, first presented a Khata, and then visited the temples, and sat down. When you leave, put a Khata behind the seat you sat on to show that your heart is still there.

Khata, transliteration of Tibetan. It's a kind of silk and cotton fabric. Most of them are white and blue. In addition, there are five colors of Khata, which are blue, white, yellow, green and red. Blue means blue sky, white is the white cloud, green is the river, red is the God of space protection, and yellow is the symbol of the earth. Colorful Khata is the most precious gift for Bodhisattva's and close relatives to make colorful arrows. It can only be used under specific circumstances.

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