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Hada: Incarnation of Friendship and Fraternity

Presenting the hada -- a strip of raw silk or linen -- is a common practice among Tibetan people expressing best wishes on many occasions, such as wedding ceremonies, festivals, visiting elders and superiors, and entertaining guests. The white hada in Tibet embodies purity and good fortune.

 Origin of Hada

The hada is pronounced "kha-(b)tags" in Tibetan. Folklore historians believe that the tradition of the hada presentation can be traced back to the reign of Kublai Khan, the founder of China's Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Basipa (Phags-pa) returned to Tibet in 1264 after his special trip to pay tribute to Kublai Khan in Gansu Province. He brought back a hada with the design of the Great Wall and Chinese characters  that meant "as lucky as one wishes". When he went to worship the Buddha at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, Basipa presented the hada to the Buddha. Later, the hada was endowed with a religious connotation, referred to as "fairies' streamers".

 White: Cleanliness and Sincerity

History recalls that people of the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220) often used strips of white cloth as gifts while some researchers say that pronunciation of "hada" sounds much like a Tibetan modification of the Mongolian word "hadaka". It is still arguable whether the hada was invented by the Han people or the Mongolians . In any case, Kublai Khan was the leader of the Mongolians.

Though both Mongolians and Tibetans cherish the tradition of presenting hada at various occasions, Mongolians prefer to use blue and yellow hada whereas Tibetans choose to use white ones. White represents cleanliness and sincerity in Tibet.
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