Rangoli, also known as kolam or Muggu, is a folk art from India in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. It is usually made during Diwali, Onam, Pongal and other Indian festivals. They are meant to be sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities. The ancient symbols have been passed down through the ages, from each generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive. Similar practices are followed in different Indian states: in Tamil Nadu, there is Kolam in Tamil Nadu; Mandana in Rajasthan; Chaookpurna in Chhattisgarh; Alpana in West Bengal; Aripana in Bihar; Chowk pujan in Uttar Pradesh; Muggu in Andhra Pradesh and others.
The purpose of rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. Design depictions may also vary as they reflect traditions, folklore and practices that are unique to each area. It is traditionally done by women. Generally, this practice is showcased during occasions such as festivals, auspicious observances, marriage celebrations and other similar milestones and gatherings.
Rangoli designs can be simple geometric shapes, deity impressions, or flower and petal shapes (appropriate for the given celebrations), but they can also be very elaborate designs crafted by numerous people. The base material is usually dry or wet granulated rice or dry flour, to which sindoor (vermilion), haldi (turmeric) and other natural colors can be added. Chemical colors are a modern variation. Other materials include colored sand and even flowers and petals, as in the case of flower rangolis.
Rangoli is an Indian sandpainted design often seen in Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Rangoli can be any size and can use a wide variety of materials. You can approach Rangoli as an advanced art project for an experienced artist, or modify it for a fun activity with kids.
BANGALORE, INDIA: Padma, 18, completes a "Rangoli" (powder colour decoration) to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali (festival of lights) at her home in Bangalore 14 November 2001. Hindus decorate their houses with rangolis and light oil lamps and candles to celebrate Diwali. Rangolis, symbolising peace and harmony are prepared by almost every Hindu household to usher in the blessings of a god on a festive occasion. AFP PHOTO/INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)