June 10, 2019

What is a Tibetan Kata?

It is a greeting scarf that is given to family, friends or guests which show gratitude and wishes of happiness and prosperity. You will find this traditional scarf being offered in a number of ways, but it can be broken down to these two categories: 

Gratitude: When being welcomed into a home, leaving for a journey etc. you can find many Tibetans giving a kata to others or even placing them over statues, thangkas, and altar spaces as a form of respect. 

You will find the Dalai Lama giving a kata to many people, but with any high lamas and teachers, a kata that is given to them will be given back to the giver as an additional blessing. These are cherished and can sometimes be added to outdoor prayer flags for additional prayers and wishes. 

 Celebration: Katas are also very common in Tibetan culture when celebrating an event. This can include weddings, birthdays, farewell, funerals and many more. Providing a kata for each guest during a celebratory event is quite auspicious, and this tradition has been passed down for many generations. 

During our visits to Nepal, you will find many of the artisans we work with will offer a kata to us, and it always means so much knowing the tradition behind this small silk scarf. 

How to offer a Tibetan Kata

To present a kata, first fold the scarf in half lengthwise (hotdog style) which represents the interdependence of each other. When offering the scarf, be sure to have the open portion of the fold face the person you are giving it to. This represents your intentions, and showing that you have an open heart and zero negative intent. Then you can place the kata over their neck, or if it is an elder or lama, place the kata in their hands. 

If you are looking to use Katas for your future event or family gathering, shop our  DharmaShop Katas today! 


Subscribe