|“Rangoli ” is a Sanskrit word which means a creative expression of art through the use of colours. In ancient India, Rangolies were used to decorate the entrances of homes, a floor painting which provided a warm and colourful welcome to visitors. In Indian cultures, all guests and visitors occupy a very special place, and a Rangoli is an expression of warm hospitality. In particular, Diwali – the Festival of Lights – is widely celebrated with Rangolies, since at this time, people visit each others homes to exchange greetings and sweets.
In a Rangoli , powdered colours are sprinkled on cleaned and dusted floor or hard boards with fingers to form decorations – Rangolies can be vivid, three dimensional, plain, yet as beautiful as two dimensional designs. The coloured powder is usually applied ‘free hand’ by letting it run from the gap formed by pinching the thumb and the forefinger.
In ancient times, Rangolies were actual decorations, made on the entrances and walls of houses to brighten up and add colour to occasions being celebrated; like weddings, births and significant religious days. They also signified a warm welcome for visitors. In fact in Maharashtra state Indian housewives make them each morning. The designs would be simple and geometrical but could invoke symbolic forms. Oil lamps (diyas) would be placed in Rangoli to give it yet another dimension.
Thus, reflecting regional beliefs and aesthetics based on a common spiritual beliefs, the art of floor painting is one which has survived all influences and retained and transmitted the spirit of Indian life.