Rangoli, also known as Alpana, Kolam and by other names is a traditional art of decorating courtyards and walls of Indian houses, places of worship and sometimes eating places as well. The powder of white stone, lime, rice flour and other paste is used to draw intricate and ritual designs.
Although Rangoli art is Maharashtrian in origin, it has become quite popular all over the country. Each state of India has its own way of painting Rangoli. One characteristic of Rangolis is that it is painted by commoners. On some special occasions like Diwali it is painted in every home, with or without formal training in Rangoli art. This is to welcome the guest and it adds on to the festive feeling and brightens the entire house. It is believed to be auspicious and considered a good sign. That is one of the reason why in South India woman of the house paint rangoli every morning near the entrance.
Traditionally Rangolis are painted or created out of colored sand/rice powder. A symmetrical pattern or picture of Gods, Goddess, Dancers, Diyas etc. is drawn and colored rice powder/sand is then layered on top to form a picture. A symmetrical rangoli pattern can be drawn on paper or card and then decorated by children with crumpled tissue paper.
Spaces can be created within the rangoli design to place diyas. One can also use flower petals of different colors such as golden marigolds, bright red roses to add that extra dimension to the pattern. Most of the rangoli patterns are circular indicative of the endlessness of time. The day-to-day Rangoli patterns are simple or intricate. The most common rangoli designs start with dots which are connected to form lines and other geometrical shapes such as swastika, aum, stars, squares, circles, triangles etc. These geometrical patterns must be formed in continuous, unbroken lines.
Diwali has so many rituals and traditions attached to that it make it full of excitement and joy. It is fun to get up early in the morning to decorate your house with different things and preparing for the welcome of the guest expected on these days. Diwali Gifts and Diwali Sweets are specially arranged and prepared and the entire house is filled with the aroma of special delicacies been cooked. In the evenings the entire house is lighted with beautifully decorated diyas and candles and the family enjoys the reunion and kids the dazzling fireworks.