A Hindu tradition Rangoli or Kolam - some facts

Rangoli. beautyhealthtips.in

Since the dawn of civilization in the Indian subcontinent Indian culture has been interwoven with art and music. The art forms take different shapes, sizes, images and geometric patterns, the basic idea of  Rangoli  is creative  design that is  filled with rich  colors.  It is an  Indian traditional or folk art,  which is generally created on the floor in front of   houses, business establishments and in temples . Especially on festive occasions, Kolam or Rangoli designs are elaborate and eye-catching. The Indian scriptures and Puranas (Hindu mythological literature)  mention about the  evolution of this traditional art forms.  It is believed that  this ancient art form  is believed to have been  originated from the Indian state  of Maharashtra. Over a period of time it spread gradually to other parts of India.

A simple kolam in front of a house, Tamil Nadu. en.wikipedia.org

Basic  materials  used to make  rangoli  are colored rice flour,  colored sand or flower petals. Especially on festive occasions such as Diwali (Deepawali),  Karthigai  Deepam, Onam, Pongal or Sangaranthi and other Indian festivals  Kolam or Rangoli designs will be  impressive  and awe-inspiring, bearing testimony to the sensitivity of the person to the religious aspects and his aesthetic vision. The Indian scriptures and Puranas  mention about the  evolution of this traditional art forms.  The traditional designs with added innovations  are passed on from one generation to the next, keeping  the art form of Kolam or Rangoli  alive. Such art forms enrich the residential areas and neighborhood and add zest to the sanctity of the temple premises.

Rangoli or Kolam indianexpress.com

 'Rangoli',  a Sanskrit word,  has different names in different states. In  South India,  it is known as   Kolam, Alpana in Bengal,  Aripana  in Bihar, Madana is Rajasthan, Muggu in Andhra Pradesh, etc. Though Rangoli is the common  name in the Northern states, it is also referred to as Chowkpurna. There is a legend to the origin of Rangoli. Once in a kingdom, upon the death of chief priest's son, the entire country was in grief and the people and the ruler were engaged in intense prayer for days together to Lord Brahma, the Hindu God of Creator to restore his life. (Vide Chitra Lakshana),  Brahma, pleased as he was, with their prayer and asked them to draw  on the floor a replica of  the dead person. Into the drawing of the dead person,  Brahma breathed life, thus  putting an end to the  sorrow and pain of the people. The art of rangoli is an offshoot of this  mythological legend.

Kolam at Andayil Temple, Pudunagaram

Rangoli brings out two aspects - beauty - elaborate designs and patterns created by the intuitive mind. Spirituality - it has religious connotations; it is associated with religious festivals and also rituals associated with auspicious family functions. So rangoli emphasizes the combination of these two aspects

Some fascinating facts:

01. Rangoli is considered a symbol of good-luck and good will. Before drawing Kolam, the ground must be well cleaned with water. Kolams are never drawn on uncleaned ground.

02. Rangoli in  an expression of our  traditional cultural mannerism and  hospitality in a religious matrix.

03. Among the festivals,  Diwali  witnesses the greatest presentation of  rangoli.  People make rangoli on the entrance doors of their homes on the auspicious occasion of Diwali. So is the festival of Karthigai Deepam in the Southrn states. On the rangoli  displayed in front of homes, oil lamps are placed in a particular geometric pattern.

04. During the festival of Onam in Kerala, flowers of different hues are set on the cleaned floor in an attractive geometric pattern for each of the ten days of the celebration. The design of kolam  with flowers becomes elaborate as the days go by during the festival.

05. In Tamil Nadu, the month of Margazhi (December-January) is an auspicious one . The Hindu belief has been that Sri Andaal, daughter of Periazhavar, the great Vaishnavite scholar in Tamil  worshiped Lord  Vishnu in that month and ultimately married him. So, young unmarried girls get up in the early morning,  draw a Rangoli or Kolam  to welcome the god Thirumal (Vishnu). It is done in the belief that they will get married to a suitable groom soon without any hitch. On the Aandal temple premises at Sri Villiputhur, TN numerous rangolis or kolams in elaborate styles are drawn with devotion by women.

06. The purpose of  display of Rangoli or Kolam before the residences is not only  to welcome guests, but  also goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and fortune). 

07. There are two primary ways to make a Rangoli, dry and wet, depending on the  materials used: using a  dry rice flour, colored flour, sand, etc. Geometric patterns and  Motifs from nature (leaves, petals, feathers) and geometric or intricate  patterns are common. Motifs from nature (leaves, petals, feathers) are also created.

08. Cultural development of Rangoli in the South originated in the era of the Chola Rulers. 

09. In the state of Rajasthan Rangoli or the Mandana is painted on walls.

10. Ritual Rangoli or Kolam patterns are is  commonly displayed on  wedding days, some family functions, inauguration of new business, etc. It is common to see a big oil lamp is placed at the center of rangoli or Kolam.

11. It is a taboo to display rangoli before the house if death occurs in it. Rangoli is displaced  in such houses only on completion of 10 to 13 day mourning period by the time when all the religious rites are completed  for the departed soul.

12. To draw Kolam coarse rice powder is commonly used so that  birds and ants can  feed on the rice powder