Steeped in meaning and intention, prayer flags have been used throughout Tibetan history to promote compassion, peace, health, and wisdom. In the west, we often hang prayer flags during the summer months whenever the weather is warm and the sun is shining; however, in Tibet and many other eastern countries, it is typical to hang them on auspicious days (such as Tibetan New Year) with conscious intention for the prayers to benefit all beings.
Prayer flags are customarily made using traditional wood block-printing techniques, the same techniques that have been employed for hundreds of years. Each color of cloth used represents an element — yellow for earth, green for water, red for fire, white for air/wind, and blue for sky/space. As prayer flags dance in the wind, begin to unravel and the colors fade, the prayers and intentions they hold are released into the universe, traveling on the breezes that blow through them; the unraveling and fading symbolize impermanence.
The most accepted way to dispose of prayer flags is to either burn them or to bury them in the ground. As they burn the smoke carries the prayers with it and if buried, as they deteriorate the earth absorbs the prayers releasing them to all beings who walk on or grow in the soil.
At Hands of Tibet, we are proud to offer many styles of prayer flags from traditional to modern, all sourced directly from local families in both Nepal and Bali. Check out our selection at www.handsoftibet.com! Namaste!