There are two styles of traditional Tibetan prayer flags: horizontal and vertical. The vertical flag is called a ‘darchor’ and is a large rectangular cloth attached to poles, much like the battle banners of yore. Horizontal flags are called ‘lungta’ in Tibetan which translates as wind horse. These are composed of square or rectangular pieces of fabric connected along the top by a string. Tradition says you are to hang them diagonally between 2 stable objects – preferably objects in a breezy place.On each of the flags the image of a deity has been printed along with a written prayer. In essence, when you hang the string you are asking the deity to carry the prayer across the land. The five colors of the flags represent the five essential elements on earth. Green flags stand for the earth’s waters. The yellow flags are symbolic of the earth itself. Red is fire (no surprise there), and blue is the sky. The last flag is white and represents the air and the wind.The flags have unfinished edges which will unravel over time, letting loose the written prayers to flow freely with the wind, touching all it encounters. In this way the prayers become one with the natural elements.Please treat these flags with the same respect you give national and state flags. Keep them from touching the ground and when they become old dispose of them by burning, if at all possible. –
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