Rangoli: The Art of India

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Rangoli is one of the treasured traditional Indian arts that are often associated with Diwali or the “Festival of Lights” and other Indian Festivals. It is also known askolam or muggu.

 

Rangoli and Hinduism

rangoli-2Human civilization is incomplete without traditions and customs. It’s always been an important part of every religion and culture. Some of them are so important to the people that maintain it that sometimes, they even sacrifice their lives for them.

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions on Earth. They have a lot of customs and traditions that are passed down through ages, from generation to the next, keeping the tradition alive. Mostly, people living in villages in India are very conscious regarding these but don’t mean that people in the cities do not observe them. It is said that people in living in villages are more devoted than people in the cities. There are literally thousands of customs and traditions in Hinduism. One of these is the Rangoli. It is engaged to art and is most common in all parts of India. This involves their creativity and talent in forming it on the floor in living rooms or courtyards.

What is Rangoli?

Rangoli is one of the treasured traditional Indian arts that are often associated with Diwali or the “Festival of Lights” and other Indian Festivals. It is also known askolam or muggu. Rangoli was originally designed in small patterns and tend to be geometric and proportioned, though this has been changed over time and newer themes and variations are being explored. But one important point that all Rangoli designs is created by an unbroken line, with no gaps to be left anywhere so there is no opening for evil spirits to enter.

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The materials that are used to make Rangoli are easily found everywhere. Therefore it doesn’t require big amount of money to create one. The most common major ingredient that is used in making Rangoli is the rice powder or rice paste because rice to all Indians is a sign of prosperity. Other major ingredients to make Rangoli are dried powder made from leaves color such as turmeric, charcoal and wood sawdust. Some major symbols used in Rangoli are the lotus flower, its leaves, mango, Tue vase, fish, different kind of birds like parrots, swans, peacocks, and human figures and foliage.

The Traditions of Rangoli

Hindus have many beliefs on how the Rangoli was formed. In the Ramayana story, the citizens welcome Rama back from his fourteen-year exile in the forest by painting Rangoli designs outside their homes. Hindu families still honor this tradition today. In India, some people get up very early in the morning create a Rangoli. The designs are both decorative and symbolize warm welcome and good luck. Candles and lamps are also placed outside the home in the hope that Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, will visit and bring good fortune and blessings to the family. Prayers are offered for her, asking for her blessings in the form of wealth. By itself, Rangoli designs are created at the entrance of the house, not only to welcome the guests that visit, but also the goddess herself.

There was also a legend in the earliest Indian theory of painting. When the son of a King’s high priest died, Brahma, Lord of the universe, asked the king to paint the likeness of the boy so that Brahma could breathe life into him again. This is how it is believed that the first painting was made. Another popular story is that God, in one of his creative episodes, extracted the juice from one of the mango trees as paint, and drew the figure of a woman so beautiful that it put the heavenly maidens to shame.

Popular Rangoli Designs

These are just some of the most popular and stunning modern rangoli designs:

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Flower Rangoli: Rangoli design that is made of out flower petals in different colors. Marigolds in different colors and lotus buds as well as other colored flower petals are used to make a beautiful design

Whirlwind Rangoli: This design has different colored flower rangoli petals. The colors used to this design are very striking and catch your attention easily.

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Peacock Rangoli: Rangoli design that shows a peacock and its feathers. It is a unique thought and the design is quite complex.

Lakshmi Rangoli: Rangoli design for celebration of Laxmi Puja. The symbols related to the deity – the ‘Kalas’ and the ‘Lotus flower’ are used to make the design more appropriate for the occasion.

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Rangoli Kolam: Rangoli design for kolam festivals. There are contrasting colors used like green, blue and yellow which further enhance the look.

Rangoli design with Diyas. This design uses mainly geometric patterns and shapes, and can be done by those with less experience.

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Diwali rangoli design. This design is loaded of bright shades which are sure to lift mood and make the house look all the more colorful. The bright shades used include red, orange, pink, yellow, green and black.

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Round Rangoli: Rangoli design with round spiral shapes of different colors. The use of differentcolours to differentiate each circle is quite unique and this one is easy enough for anyone to accomplish.

Holi Rangoli: Rangoli design for holi. Holi is a festival of colors and what better way to celebrate the spirit ofcolour than doing some beautiful and colorful rangoli at your home.

How Do We Celebrate Diwali Festival of Light

Diwali_DiyaThat time of the year has come. It’s Diwali! This is my much-waited festival of the year. This is one of my favorites. Who wouldn’t love Diwali festival? This is the time when people seem to have no problem. People are all happy. You can feel the unity and fun in the air. It is also a time when all the thing you do is to celebrate and have fun, play games and just eat and munch around (which I usually do during Diwali).

So why do we celebrate diwali? Historically, it is believed that in the day of diwali, people of Ayodhaya light the entire kingdom using the small oil lamp called diya. They also burst crackers as part of the celebration. They did this to welcome their Lord Rama who came back from rescuing his wife Site from the king of evil Ravana. This day celebrates the day when the light defeated darkness. For Hindu, this is a very important day.

Now that we know the significance of Diwali, let’s talk about how we celebrate the Diwali festival. Here are some activities for Diwali.

Preparing Sweets

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This activity is my favorite. No, I don’t cook, but I LOVE TO EAT! I am always excited when sister is preparing for yummy sweets. I tried cooking one but I was not as good as my aunts in preparing diwali treats. Some of the commonly prepared sweets on Diwali are ladoo, avail, murrukku, etc.

Cleaning and Decorating Homes

Weeks before the Dhanteras or the first day of diwali, we start cleaning our house. We move around out furniture and save some space for the pooja and other settings. We start setting up our pooja room and putting up our diwali decorations. Everything will begin to be so busy.

Making Rangoli

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Aside from food, this is another favorite activity on Diwali. Those colorful rangoli designs are pretty in my eyes and I am trying different patterns every year. We often choose ones that use diyas and flowers. There are also rangoli competition events every year that, unfortunately I cannot join with. I am not that expert in designing but I love taking photos of them.

Lighting Diyas

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Of course, being the important spectacles of diwali, we just can’t miss this part. Every night, we light diyas (small oil lamps). But these days, we just don’t use diyas. We also use different decorative candles.

Performing Lakshmi Pooja

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Another important traditions of Diwali is performing pooja. In this tradition, there is a podium where deity idols such ad Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha are worshipped. This podium incorporates different items such as puja thali, offerings, incense, etc.

Playing Games

Together with my cousins and friends, we used to play cards on Diwali day. But I am more on outdoor games like hide and seek. These days, we prefer something westernized types of games like scavenger hunt with the theme of Diwali.

Well, since Diwali has come, I just got one wish for all of you, my fellows. I wish everyone will be safe on Diwali. Just have fun. Just enjoy the festival. Just be happy. But keep the true meaning of Diwali in your hearts while doing so. Happy Diwali to all!

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