The icons and symbols used in Buddhism are an important part of the religion. One important symbol is the prayer flag. Prayer flags are common in Tibet to decorate monasteries, homes, and businesses. Prayer flags are symbolic of Buddhist worship, but they are used for decoration and to promote peace as well. Prayer flags are also used to promote good fortune as well. The origin of prayer flags actually predates Buddhism, and originally their promotion of luck and prosperity was more common.
The element of wind aids the spread of the message of Tibetan Buddhist, through prayers and mantras that are drawn onto the prayer flags. The wind blows by the prayer flag, and it is believed that the wind picks up the words on the flags and spreads them throughout the world. The words and sentiments of the mantras are spread by the wind.
Prayer flags are often created with brilliant designs and artistry. Many purchase prayer flags for decorations because the designs are so beautiful to behold. Prayer flags are said to be good luck to others when their message is spread by the wind, but they are also good luck to the person who hangs the prayer flag in their home or outside their home. The person who has hung the prayer flag has now become a part of the cycle of promoting the spirit of enlightenment throughout the world.
Using prayer flags for any purpose other than to hang them up, such as for mats or towels, is a disrespectful use of the items, and will stifle their powers of fortune and blessings. The best way to display prayer flags is horizontally, and traditional forms of prayer flags have a rope that connects them together. You can hang this rope from one end of your ceiling together, or you can hang them outside from one pole to another, or from your porch. Prayer flags can also be hung vertically on a pole. Only by treating prayer flags with the proper amount of respect can they deliver the intended result.
Traditional prayer flags come in various colors. The most common color combination is red, white, green, yellow, and blue. Each of the colors possess their own symbolism. Blue means space, white means air, yellow means earth, green represents water, and white means fire. This combination of colors and variations such as orange and lime green are also used for traditional prayer flags.
There are also more decorative prayer flags used that have only one prayer flag. This type of prayer flag often has embroidery on the front of the prayer flag, and can be used to hang on the wall, or on doors. There are also variations that hang from the ceiling, and there are prayer flags that are made up of a circular tube that comes down from the ceiling. The endless variety of prayer flag styles ensures that there will be a style that appeals to everyone.