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You are here : home > Indian Culture > Indian Festivals and occassions > Significance of Rangolis During Diwali

Significance of Rangolis During Diwali

Significance of Rangolis During Diwali

Rangoli is a traditional Indian art of decorating the entrance to a house. Learn more about its importance during Diwali.

Diwali is touted as a festival of lights. However, colours also play a big role in this festival. Houses are freshly painted and adorned with a multitude of decorations. People buy new clothes and gifts for their family and friends. Colours are most noticeable though in the traditional rangoli patterns that grace the entrance of every home.

About Rangoli

Rangoli is a timeless tradition that is followed all over India. Rangoli is also known as Alpana, Aripoma, or Kolam. It is an ancient art, practiced by almost all households. In many cases, designs are passed down through generations with some of them being hundreds of years old.
The word 'Rangoli' is said to have been derived from the words 'Rang' and 'Aavalli' which refers to a row of colours. Rangoli designs and colours vary between different regions but they all follow some basic patterns. A Rangoli usually has a geometrical structure that is also symmetrical. The design patterns often consist of natural elements like animals, flowers, etc.

Rangoli at Diwali

Diwali is celebrated, primarily to herald the coming of the Goddess Lakshmi. Prayers are offered to her, asking for her blessings in the form of wealth. As such, a Rangoli design is created at the entrance of the house, not only to welcome the guests that visit, but also the Goddess herself. Rangoli patterns are usually made using coloured chalk, rice powder, and crushed limestone.
There is no limit to how big a Rangoli can be. Most Rangolis are the same size as a doormat placed at an entrance. These Rangolis are especially popular among residents of city buildings, where space is a constraint. For larger houses like bungalows, it is not uncommon to find an entire courtyard filled with a colourfully designed Rangoli.
The variety in patterns and the difficulty levels for a Rangoli is largely dependent on the talents and skills of the person making the Rangoli. A Rangoli is always made by hand and all designs are carved out using the fingers. A line is usually drawn using a single finger, like a pencil. In some cases, a pattern may be outlined using dotted movements, which are joined together at the end. Once a pattern is formed, the desired colours are filled in.

Rangoli Patterns

A Rangoli drawn during Diwali usually follows a certain theme. The central design or motif is symbolic and represents a deity or the main concept of the theme. The unity of man and it could also refer to a heart or a wheel nature can be shown by drawing natural elements like birds, snakes, fish, etc. Another common theme for a Rangoli is a celestial one, using symbols like the sun, moon, signs of the zodiac, etc. as the central motif.
A Rangoli design usually has a geometric shape, which is supposed to denote the infiniteness of time. A Rangoli is also bordered by a lotus design, to represent the Goddess Lakshmi. The lotus is also symbolic for the beginning of life. When drawn as an outline, it could also refer to a heart or a wheel.

Rangolis in Different States

Rangoli patterns vary in different Indian states. A basic Rangoli would usually consist of two interfacing triangles. These are drawn to symbolise the Goddess of knowledge, Saraswati. A twenty-four-petal lotus border outlines the triangles. At the four corners of the border, tiny footprints are drawn, which represent Lakshmi's footprints.
In the northern parts of Bihar, Lakshmi's footprints are drawn on the doorstep, with the toes pointing towards the entrance of the house. A typical Rangoli drawn in Andhra Pradesh, has an eight petal lotus which is formed by a variety of geometric patterns. This lotus is called 'Ashtadal Kamal'. In Tamil Nadu, an Eight-Pointed star, referred to as 'Hridaya Kalam', replaces the eight-petal lotus. This means the lotus of the heart. Gujarat itself is said to have almost a thousand variations of the lotus that are drawn during Diwali.
No matter the design, Diwali would be incomplete without the traditional Rangoli to welcome guests, both divine and human. Rangolis are drawn in households throughout the country. In many cases, the drawing of the Rangoli is a family tradition and is a time for togetherness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to Rangoli

Take a quick look at the frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to Rangoli.

What is Sanskar Bharati Rangoli?

Sanskar Bharati Rangoli is very popular in Maharashtra which is drawn in a free hand style. It is mainly drawn in circular form. It is drawn in big as well as small circles. The way of drawing this style of Rangoli is a little different. In the beginning colours are spread on the floor and then design is made with white Rangoli on these colours. These designs include different holy symbols depicting Indian culture, rituals, customs and traditions. People also use different geometric shapes to make it look even more attractive. Sanskar Bharati Rangoli is an epitome of Indian Culture and tradition which represents the Sanskars of India.
One of the benefits of drawing this Rangoli is that it can be drawn in very less time and anyone can draw it. Therefore, this style of Rangolis are drawn in big areas and spaces not only during Diwali festival but also during many other festivals. Different vibrant colours can be used for making this Rangoli which can make it very attractive. Not only in the circular shape but also it can be drawn in square or rectangular shape. The beauty of this Rangoli is enhanced when it is decorated with Diyas. Watch the following video to learn the basics of drawing Sanskar Bharati Rangoli:

Which are the different occasions when Rangoli is drawn apart from Diwali?

Rangoli is drawn not only on the occasion of Diwali but also on different occasions like Dussehra, Gudi Padwa, Navratri, Holi and almost all the auspicious occasions and festivals. It is also drawn around the places of worship as well as near the places where idols of Gods and Goddesses are placed for worship as a holy omen. It is also drawn when there is Puja at home or if Puja of any kind is done at a particular place. In many households it is drawn every day at the entrance of the door as a holy omen.

Which are the different holy symbols used while drawing Rangoli?

Rangoli has been a part of Indian tradition since many years and it is incomplete without holy symbols. The different holy symbols that are used while drawing Rangoli include symbols like Aum, Shankh (Conch), Sudarshan Chakra (Chakra that is in hands of Lord Vishnu), Swastik, Kamal (Lotus), Chandra (Moon), Surya (Sun), Gadha (Mace Weapon), Dhanush (Bow), Tulsi Vrindavan (Holy Basil Plant), More Pankh (Peacock Feather), Mango leaves, Neem leaves, Stars and faces of Gods and Goddesses. Drawing these symbols are known to invite good luck, prosperity and a lot of happiness in the house. Many people use their own creativity while drawing these symbols. They make these symbols and draw many different patterns around these symbols with different Rangoli colours.

What material is used for drawing Rangoli near the entrance of the door?

White Rangoli powder is readily available in the market which is generally used for drawing Rangoli. Similarly, different Rangoli colours are also available in a form of powder. Apart from that in some South-Indian states, rice flour is used to draw Rangoli. Paint is also used to draw permanent Rangoli outside the house. Different materials like chalk, sand, flowers etc; can be used for making Rangoli. Rangoli colours can also be used to draw Rangoli on water.

How to make Rangoli with flowers or floral Rangoli?

One of the beautiful ways to make Rangoli is to make it with flowers. You can use different kinds of flowers for making floral Rangoli. Such flowers include flowers like marigold, jasmine, rose, chrysanthemum (Shevanti) or any other flowers of your choice. You can also use mango leaves along with flowers for making floral Rangoli. You can use whole flowers or flower petals for making such Rangoli. Floral Rangolis are easy to make and such Rangolis lighten-up the festive mood. Floral Rangolis can be used for decorating the places of worship as well as the entire house. These Rangolis can also be decorated with the help of Diyas.

Is it alright to use Rangoli stickers?

People who are too busy to draw traditional Rangolis use Rangoli stickers. Rangoli stickers can be used but they do not provide the elegance and charm that traditional Rangolis bring to the house.

Which are the simplest ways to draw traditional Rangolis?

If you are too busy to draw Rangoli in a traditional way and you do not want to use Rangoli stickers, you can simply use Rangoli stencils. You can draw a perfect Rangoli with the help of the Rangoli stencil. There are a wide variety of stencils available in the market ranging from the floral designs to holy symbols and pictures of Gods and Goddesses. These stencils come in the form of different shapes and sizes. Nowadays even Rangoli sets are available in the market for adults as well as children which include all the essentials that are required for making a Rangoli. Therefore, even children can draw beautiful and perfect Rangolis with the help of stencils and make Diwali special and memorable.

What are the faiths and beliefs associated with Rangoli?

There is a belief that in the Hindu month of Margashirsha which usually falls between the month of December and January, Goddess Andal worshipped Lord Tirumala in order to marry him and her wish was granted. So, during this month most of the girls in South-India wake-up early in the morning and draw Rangoli in front of their house to worship Lord Tirumala so that they get a good husband. The significance of Rangoli is also mentioned in the great Indian epic Ramayana. The importance of Rangoli is mentioned during the episode of discussion about Goddess Sita’s wedding pavilion.

Which are the different names of Rangoli?

Rangoli is known by different names in different parts of India. In Maharashtra and Goa, Rangoli is known as Raangolee, in Chhattisgarh it is known as Chaook. In South-India, it is referred as Kolam and in Mithila it is known as Aripan. In Karnataka it is known as Hase or Rangoli and Muggulu in Telangana and Andra Pradesh.

What does Rangoli convey?

Rangoli is drawn to convey various messages. During the festivals it depicts the beautiful Indian culture. There are various spiritual reasons associated with drawing Rangoli in front of the main entrance of the door. It is drawn to invite good luck and prosperity in the house and ward-off evil spirit. It is drawn to welcome Goddess Laxmi in the house. There are various messages too that people write with Rangoli like ‘Welcome’ or ‘Happy Diwali’ or ‘God Bless You’. It is also used to write Mantras like ‘Aum Namah Shivaya’ or ‘Hari Om’.

How to make Rangoli powder at home?

There are different ways that you can follow to make Rangoli at home. You can take rice and add acrylic paint to it. Mix the rice and colour well. After the coloured rice dries, you can grind it in a mixer to make a fine powder out of it. You can also use salt and food colour to make Rangoli colour at home. All you need to do is add food colour to the salt and mix it well and your Rangoli colour is ready. You can also make Rangoli colour with the leftover Holi colours. All you need to do is add the Holi colours to Suji (Semolina) and salt and mix these ingredients well to make perfect Rangoli colours.
Watch the following video to find out how to make Rangoli colours instantly at home.
So, this festive season try making different types of Rangolis to invite good luck, wealth, prosperity and happiness in your home. Make every day of Diwali special with the help of the wide varieties of Rangolis that you can draw. Do not forget to add charm to your Rangoli creation by lighting beautiful Diwali lamps around it. Make this Diwali brighter and colourful with your beautiful Rangoli designs.

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mamasi.7 years ago
rangoli is an art which all cannot master. i make rangoli with only rice paste. so i have elaborate white rangolis in front of my entrance. it looks pure and surreal.
geetaa chandran
geetaa chandran.7 years ago
i just cannot draw freehand rangoli. many times i have tried but could not succeed, thanks to rangoli designs cut outs; making rangolis has become easy and now i can boast of beautiful rangolis in front of my entrance.
mandar.7 years ago
I never knew much about rangolis. through your article, i came to know about the significance of rangolis. they add colour and warmth to the entrance. they welcome the guest
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
What do you think about the tradition of drawing rangolis? Do you draw a rangoli for your home during diwali each year? Is your rangoli design simple or elaborate?
Saroj Saroj
Rangoli is truly an art form. While a simple rangoli can be made by anyone, it takes genuine talent to create the elaborate designs that we see all over. Yet, how many of us actually appreciate the tr...
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Dipti Dipti
Diwali is a time for celebration. The rangoli represents the tradition and culture that we belong to. In a sense, it makes us who we are. I feel you could have written more about the types of patterns...
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In my village, the rangolis are big and colourful. Here in the city, everything is so small. Sometimes, I hate urbanisation....
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