Rangoli is simply an art of drawing and coloring, not just with colors in the notepad but on the floor and especially in front of the door for welcoming good luck into the house. This is a tradition followed by women but men and children’s are also interested in making Rangoli. On any auspicious occasion in India, Rangoli is made and it is practiced more during the Diwali — the festival of lights.
During Diwali, people from Northern India make Rangoli from the day of Ekadashi till the Hindu New Year. This brings six days of celebrations and enjoyment amongst the people. In some of the families, it is a custom to make Rangoli every-day, where the woman first cleans the entire house, then sprinkles the water in the courtyard, and near the main entrance she then makes beautiful and colorful patterns of Rangoli. Materials such as colored rice, dry flour, and colored sand or flower petals are used to make Rangoli designs.
Rangoli designs have changed over time with different themes and variations. It can be of any size ranging from a dinner plate to the size of your room. Rangoli designs can be simple geometric shapes like square or rectangle, freehand designs, deity impressions, or flower and petal shapes. Many people do make extravagant designs of Rangoli depicting the beautiful colors of nature. In Gujarat, women decide designs according to the importance of the day during the Diwali festival. On the occasion of Ekadashi or Agiyaras tithi, they draw Tulsi (Holy Basil), on the day of wagh baras also known as Govatsa Dwadashi, they draw lion. On the day of dhanteras — dhan trayodashi, they draw ‘Ma Laxmi’, on Kali Chaudas they draw freehand scenery.
On the day of Diwali they draw deepak (lamp). And on New Year they draw it with New Year wishes. The selection of designs is totally one’s choice and it’s not mandatory. Besides Diwali, it is also drawn on auspicious functions like puja or weddings. In Maharastra, It is drawn outside the main door of the house to keep negative vibes away from the house. In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh it is practiced daily and it is taken as one part of puja. During the festival of Onam, women draw Rangoli on each of ten days of the function.
Rangoli making is an old tradition coming from the Chola Rulers and is also mentioned in Hindu mythological epic Ramayan and Mahabharata. Rangoli is its unique name in different states of India. Like in Gujarat it is known as Saathiya, Rajasthan known as Mandana, in Karnataka it is known by Rangoli, in Andhra Pradesh it is known by Mugglu, in Tamil Nadu it is known by Kolam, in Odisha it is known as Murja. With different names, the designs and colors also varies. In North India white rock powder is used to draw designs which is basically gypsum powder, in South India rice flour is used and in Kerala during Onam colorful flowers are used to make it. In Nepal Rangoli is made from dyes and are lit up at night outside homes and businesses.
Now-a-days, modern variations are seen in following this tradition of drawing Rangoli. Chemical colors which are easily available in the market, grid sheets for geometric designs, design stencil, cone and stickers are widely used to speed up this beautiful art. People love to make 2-D and 3-D creations and they try different patterns in water too.
Rangoli is a part of decoration during festivals, so it’s a must in every household. Many schools and Colleges organize its competition to celebrate festivals. For making designs first land area is covered with red mud. When it is dried, design is drawn with white rock powder or chalk stick and then it is filled with colors. After completing, border is given and finally glitters are spread on it for it to shine.