Venkat Raman –
To millions of Indians, creating small and simple floral designs at the threshold of their homes is a daily activity. Believed to have emerged during the early days of Hinduism, dating back thousands of years, the ‘exercise,’ which later came to be known as ‘Rangoli’ is a ritual which Hindus believe pleases the Gods and of course the human mind and heart.
There are however other beliefs.
The Divine Connection
According to an expert, Rangoli is a popular art among Indian women, which is mainly painted on the ground in front of their houses using different colour powders.
“This art can be predominantly seen during the Tamil month of ‘Maarkazhi’ (December 15 to January 15) in Tamil Nadu. According to Hindu mythology, during this month, Goddess Andal prayed to Lord Thirumal to marry her and succeeded. Unmarried girls paint Rangoli before Sunrise to welcome the Lord, singing ‘Thiruppavai,’ believed to have been rendered earlier by Andal in the belief that they would be blessed with good husbands,” he said.
Over the years, Rangoli has become an intricate art, capturing personalities, landscapes, animals and even events and festivities.
Competitions are held to test the innate talents of men and women.
The following has been sourced from diwalifestival.org.
Rangoli is an Indian traditional or folk art, which is generally created on the floor on some festive occasions.
Indian scriptures and Puranas (Hindu mythological literature works) can be attributed for the emergence of this creative Rangoli art.
This ancient Indian art is believed to be originated from the Indian State Maharashtra, and then spread to other parts of the country.
Origin of Rangoli Festival
Rangoli is named differently in different Indian States.
It is known as Kolam in South India, Madana is Rajasthan, Chowkpurna in North India, Alpana in Bengal, Aripana in Bihar and so on.
According to the earliest disquisition or treatise on Indian painting named ‘Chitra Lakshana,’ a King and his Kingdom were grieved on the death of the high priest’s son. Everybody, along with the King offered prayers to the Creator Lord Brahma for giving life to the boy. Moved by such love and devotion, the Lord appeared before them and asked that a painting of the dead boy be designed on the floor. He is reported to have brought the body back to life, thereby making everyone happy.
This form of art began to spread and was later named ‘Rangoli.’
‘Rangoli’ is a Sanskrit word, signifying a creative expression of art by means of colours.
In ancient times, beautiful Rangoli patterns and designs were made at entrances of Indian homes to beautify the threshold and as a sign of welcome to guests.
Rangoli was also considered a symbol of luck and good fortune.
Following the concept of ‘Athiti Devo Bhava,’ meaning, ‘Guest is God,’ Hindu women decorate their homes with Rangoli.
Floral designs were the prime form of welcoming Goddess Lakshmi, relatives and friends into homes to celebrate Diwali.
A number of other designs including birds, animals and nature were included in later years. Apart from homes, Rangoli designs have also become a popular outdoor art. These include parks, gardens, footpaths and other places of public gathering.
The formation of an ideal Rangoli art demands the attentive use of vibrant colours on a clean floor. The most common way of making a Rangoli design is to pinch the thumb and the forefinger and let the colour to freely run out from the gap.
Rangoli was one of the major decorations or embellishments in the ancient times, but they have not lost their charm even in the modern context. These traditional embellishments are still used in India on various festivals and special occasions like marriages, birth ceremonies, and other social and religious occasions.