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IN Desi ON 23 Oct, 2016
It is that time of the year when the festival season is upon us. When one talks about the Indian festivals perhaps the first festival that comes to mind is Diwali. Just think of the festival and immediately one is reminded of light, sound, and color. In its essence, Diwali is a festival signifying the victory of good over evil. Diwali is one of the major festivals of Hinduism and marks the occasion on which Lord Rama returned to his home with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana after vanquishing the mighty demon king Ravana. Diwali also marks the Lord's homecoming after 14 years of exile. Hence the occasion calls for all kinds of celebrations, ranging from lighting oil lamps to bursting fire crackers. Like most Indian festivals, Diwali is also associated with sweets and probably there is no grander occasion for savoring sweets than Diwali. It is also a time for shopping and purchasing gifts for the near and dear ones. Speaking of color, Rangoli is an ancient art form associated with the festival of Diwali.
Rangoli involves making color patterns using different items such as flower petals, vermilion, sand, rice, turmeric, flour, etc. Everyone loves the different Rangoli designs for Diwali. For a Rangoli enthusiast, there are different color and design choices to choose from. While some prefer their Rangoli designs for Diwali with flowers, others prefer to have their Rangoli designs for Diwali with dots.
If that's not enough, every year on Diwali new Rangoli designs get available. Even Rangoli competitions are also held every year. But, Rangoli is not exclusive to the festival of Diwali, for it is associated with some other Indian festivals as well.
India is a home of diversity and it is because of this diversity that the country is known for all over the world. India's rich cultural diversity is brilliantly captured by the famous Hindi proverb "Kos kos par badle paani, char kos par vani" which says that such is the multifaceted nature of India that the taste of water changes after each mile and the language of people changes after four. Going by the above adage it is only apt to say that India is a home to various different cultures.
As a matter of fact, it wouldn't be a hyperbole to describe it as several countries wrapped into one. It is quite natural that diversity would give rise to cultural divides as can be seen among the people of different states. But then what's keeping us together? Well, there must be a common cord uniting us all. Actually, festivities are an innate part of every Indian's life. There is practically a festival for every occasion. But the occasions vary. However, these festivals remain a celebration of life for the Indians.
Hidden in these festivals are morals for living a happy life. So, while the cultural divide between the people of North India and South India is enormous, there also are several commonalities. To understand them in detail one would have to trace the origins. But even without getting into those details one can still come up with very many interesting observations about what unites the Indians.
We earlier touched upon the fact that Rangoli and Diwali are almost synonymous. But we also mentioned that Rangoli is associated with various other festivals. Two popular South Indian festivals, Onam and Pongal, also involve the ritual of drawing colorful patterns with chalk powder, rice flour and various other items. The practice is known as Kolam in Tamil Nadu and Golam in Kerala. All over Indian it is practiced under different names. In Rajasthan, it is called Mandana in Rajasthan.
In Chhattisgarh it is referred to as Chowkpurana while it is called Alpana in West Bengal. In Bihar, it is called Aripana in Bihar while it is called Chowk pujan in Uttar Pradesh. In Andra Pradesh, it is referred to as Muggu in Andhra Pradesh. It is called Raangolee in Maharashtra and Raongoli in Karnataka. So basically the very art form of Rangoli is practiced all across India under different names on different occasions. The art form greatly depends on designs.
What has kept the art form alive is that designs are traditionally passed from one generation to the next. Rangoli designs are also used in weddings and other auspicious occasions. Most Hindu homes have Rangoli patterns near the entrance as it is believed that they keep away the evil spirits. Also, rice and flour presence in Rangolis serve the purpose of feeding insects and birds, which is considered as good Karma.
If you are a Rangoli enthusiast, Diwali is by far the best time for you. You can even hone your skills by coming up with new Rangoli designs for Diwali. These days there are several books are available featuring the best Rangoli designs for Diwali. Various auspicious symbols play a central role in the design of Rangolis.
Some commonly used symbols include flowers (such as lotus), birds (such as peacock), human figures, fish, foliage, vase, lamps, om, swastika, etc. Typically a Rangoli pattern consists of several of these symbols. Some of the most common patterns for Diwali Rangoli are the Diya, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Flower/Bird patterns, etc. Amongst the most popular are the Goddess Lakshmi Rangoli designs. For, Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of prosperity and the families pray to her on the highly auspicious occasion of Diwali.
People make Rangolis of different shapes and sizes depending on their level of skills, ease and comfort. Amateurs can start with the most basic designs while those who have attained mastery over the art of Rangoli may even attempt complex designs and fill their houses with color. Perhaps, internet is the best place to look for Rangoli patterns for Diwali.
Those who are not gifted Rangoli artists need not feel dejected for the market usually get inundated with special Rangoli stencils during the time of Diwali. The various Rangoli designs embedded along with this article have been eclectically chosen for your consideration. You may try them from the comfort of your homes or look for other ones on the web.
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