Picture in the picture: The sacred blue “hadag”

While travelling in Mongolia, we noted the presence of blue silk cloths hanging everywhere: in temples, around people’s neck, along the dirt tracks (speaking of roads here would be highly exaggerating) attached to stone pyramids and even in the Mongolian state emblem. The blue silk cloth is known as hadag it has an important meaning for the Mongols both in its use and by its colour.

Detail of prayer flags

First the hadag has an important significance in the well-wishing and greeting in Mongolian culture as it represents the highest symbol of an honorary greeting. The Mongols cherish the ancient tradition of greeting and saluting each other with respect and honour. Following this tradition, the elders and distinguished persons are greeted first.  The young ones respond to them in respectable manner. They even have a traditional ceremony dedicated to greeting which takes place once a year: Tsagaan Sar. During this ceremony, the ancient tradition of greeting with a blue silk scarf is performed.

The hadag is blue because this is the most sacred colour in Mongolian culture, representing the eternal blue sky. Mongolia is also known as the Land of Blue Heaven.

The importance of the hadag in Mongolian culture can be noted from its representation on the state emblem, where it represents the welcome-greeting.

For us, as travellers in this outstretched country, the presence of blue scarfs added some magic and mystery to this beautiful country and every time our driver horned at some blue scarfs attached to a group of stones in the middle of nowhere, it was enough to draw a smile on our faces and enjoy this country even more.


Vera & Jean-Christophe


  1. Posted November 14, 2013 at 20:25 | Permalink

    how do I buy a Hadag?

  2. Jean-Christophe
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 21:46 | Permalink

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for chiming in!
    The answer to your question highly depend on where you live :-) and unless we live in the same city I will not be able to answer you because I don’t know the answer.