There are two types of prayer flags. The horizontal ones are called Lung ta and the vertical ones are called Darchog. Prayer flags are traditionally sold in sets of five, one for each of the five colors associated with the five elements of fire, earth, air, water, and sky.
In addition, it is believed that the person hoisting and displaying such prayer flags also received special grace and blessings from the divine.
It is believed that as the flags fade, the prayers become part of the universe. As life changes and is replaced with new life, Tibetans renew hope for the future by constantly mounting new flags alongside their old ones. This act symbolizes acceptance of all life's changes as well as acknowledgment of the greater, ongoing cosmic cycle of birth, death, and regeneration.
These prayer flags are considered sacred and are meant to be treated with love, respect, and reverence. One should not disrespect them by throwing them on the ground or walking over them or even wearing them as clothing! Usually, Tibetans change these prayer flags during their new year and then old prayer flags are respectfully disposed off by ritual-burning.