Traveling to Tibet has become the ultimate dream for travelers in the world. Famous for its unique Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan religion culture has attracts thousands of tourists to explore. As one of the most mysterious representatives of Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan prayer flags plays an important role in Tibetan lives. In order to help you have a better understanding of Tibetan prayer flags, here are some details about prayer flags in Tibet.
Legend of Tibetan Prayer Flags
It is said that you are close to the border of Tibet as soon as you see the colorful Tibetan prayer flags. The legend goes that the origin of the Tibetan prayer flag has a close relationship with the Buddha.
Long long ago, the Buddha was thinking deeply under the pial tree. Then his Buddhist sutras in hand were blown away by a gust of wind. Due to the powerful wind, those Buddhist sutras were torn piece by piece and arrived at every corner of the world, which were picked up by some human beings who were suffering from the miseries. Thanks to those pieces, the suffering men got rid of all the miseries and lived a happy life.
In order to show their appreciation to the Buddha, humans made a lot of colorful clothes with the shape of the triangle, printed on the portrait of the Buddha and Buddhism sutras. Then hung them on the higher place where could be blown by the wind. It was regarded as the best way to eliminate all the sufferings and seek blessings.
That’s why you can see a great number of flags tied on the rope at the rivers banks, roadsides, temple and monasteries, and houses in Tibet. In the Tibetan language, those flags are known as “Longda”, which stands for Wind and Horse. Tibetan prayer flag is a bridge of communication between human and God. The waving of Tibetan prayer flags in the wind stands for the reciting of Buddhism sutras ceaselessly. In this way, human’s wishes can be heard by God. Therefore, Tibetan prayer flags enjoy a holy position in Tibet.
Colors of Tibetan Prayer Flags
There are five colors in total, white, yellow, red, green, and blue. Each color has its own meaning. In traditional Tibetan culture, red stands for the West, blue stand for the East, yellow stands for the South, green stands for the North, and white stands for the Center. Red is regarded as the prosperity and fortitude, blue is regarded as the brave and wise, yellow is regarded as mercy and talent, green is regarded as mild and kind, and white is regarded as purity and goodness.
Three Forms of Tibetan Prayer Flags
There are three forms of Tibetan prayers flags in total.
Firstly, the Tibetan prayer flags with Buddhism sutras and wild animals patterns in five colors. These prayer flags are always sewn on a long rope and hung between two mountains.
Secondly, the Tibetan prayer flags with Buddhism sutras in a single color, red or white. The length of this kind of Tibetan prayer flag is about three to five meters long. It is always sewn on a flagstaff, and erected in front of the courtyard.
Thirdly, the Tibetan prayer flags combined five colors stripes with one single color flag with Buddhism sutras and wild animals patterns. This kind of Tibetan prayer flags is always hung on the willow trees.