Presenting Hada

Presenting hada is a kind of very common courtesy. Hada is a long piece of silk used as a greeting gift. In Tibet, it is customary to present hada to guests during the occasion of weddings and funerals. It is also commonly presented when people visit senior citizens, worship Buddha, and bid farewell to guests. Also, it is said that only after people present hada in a monastery can they pay homage to the Buddha statues. They are then free to visit the different halls. Before departure, they will leave a hada beside their seats to indicate that even though their body has left, their hearts are still there.

Presenting hada, in short, is used to show purity, loyalty, faithfulness, and respect to the receivers.Hada is made of silk, sometimes raw silk, and is loosely weaved. They feature different kinds of auspicious patterns such as lotuses, bottles, umbrellas, and conches. The material varies in quality, but generally that is not a concern as long as the hada can express good wishes. They come in different lengths, some as long as 3 or 4 meters though some as short as half a meter.

Hada is normally white because Tibetans believe that white symbolizes purity and luck. However, there is a kind of hada with 5 colors on them: blue, white, yellow, green, and red, respectively indicating the sky, clouds, land, river, and the God in charge of Buddha dharma. Five-colored hada is a highly valued gift which can be presented to Buddha statues or intimate relatives. According to Buddhist teachings, five-colored hada is the cloth of Buddha. Therefore, it can only be presented on special occasions.

The ways that hada is presented varies from person to person. The following is what people usually do to present a hada: take the hada with their both hands, lift it up to the same level as the shoulder, reach out their 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 hada. Only in this way can you express your respect and best wishes. For the receiver, he should receive it with both hands. To seniors or elders, you should lift the hada up over your head with your body bent slightly forward and put it in place in front of their seats or feet. For peers or those below you, you can hang the hada around their necks.

Presenting hada is very common in Tibet. Even when people correspond with each other, they won't forget hada. They always enclose a mini hada in the letter for greeting and expressing good wishes. What's even more interesting is when Tibetans go out, they tend to take with them several hadas in case an opportunity rises so they may be ready to give them to friends and relatives they encounter.

Hada expresses different meanings in different circumstances. During festivals or holidays, people exchange hadas to wish each other a merry holiday and a happy life. In weddings, people present hadas to the bride and groom to wish them eternal love and a joyous future together. In receptions, they are presented to guests to wish that the Buddha shall bless them. In funerals, people give hadas to express condolences to the dead and comfort the grieved relatives of the dead.

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