For this year's Midwinter Festival of Unbridled Consumerism, juli
got me a khadag! Actually, five khadags.
Khadags, which are a blue Mongolian version of the white Tibetan prayer scarf (khata), are one of my favorite things about Mongolia. You can't go anywhere without seeing one tied to a signpost or truck tailgate or doorframe. They cost about ten cents. Actual religious sites
of any type (not just buddhist) frequently have so many khadags that you can't quite tell what is under them, they're just fluttering mounds of blue and wind.
Anything you might need luck with? Tie a khadag to it!
Did a good thing happen and you would like it to happen again? Tie a khadag to it!
Did a bad thing happen and you would definitely not like it to happen again? Tie a khadag to it!
They're a beautiful color, and they are everywhere
. All birds nests in Mongolia contain some blue thread, including one massive raven nest of bleached bone and blue silk we saw. Students tie them to school fences to wish for luck in exams. I loved the sense of peering into the depths of time, of seeing reinforced hems, all that remained of old silk khadags worn by the wind, next to tattered cotton and new rayon ones. I liked the evidence that says: this place was important to someone once, for at least long enough to knot a scarf around a tree.
and I somehow returned from Mongolia without any khadags, and as omnipresent as they are inside the country, it proved quite impossible to get them outside it. Until now, when juli again used her amazing find-anything-on-the-internet skills to track some down. Hooray for blue-haired cyberpunk girlfriend! Hooray for khadags! Hooray for giftmas!