It is an ancient culture and traditional art of Indian Hindus.
Our mothers, grandmothers and their mothers drew these wonderful rangoli designs before sunrise in front of their homes. It was and is believed that by doing so we welcome the Sun God “Surya”. If we recall our good old Kannada/tamil/telugu movies , the lady of the house usually draws rangoli early in the morning and does Tulasi pooja with the “Suprabhata” chantings playing in the background.
Our grandmothers and great grandmothers did not learn how to draw beautiful and colourful rangolis at schools. They learnt this wonderful art from their mothers and grandmothers and then they passed on to their own children. I believe this traditional art should flow from generation to generations. It is sad to think that due to lack of space (living in high-rise apartments), time, interest or knowledge many of our young mothers are not able to pass on this valuable and very easy traditional art to their daughters.
I still remember when my mother drew beautiful rangolis in front of our home. She always insisted me to watch her draw them. By just watching her, I learnt a lot of simple tricks, to name a few drawing two lines, three lines, four lines. She usually did not repeat the same rangoli for at least 6 months. She knew many designs and patterns for different festivals and occasions alike. To name a few, the “Chukki rangolis” (dotted ones), “Ele rangolis” (with many arcs and curves), and then “Surya rangoli” for Ratha Sapthami, “Krishna na Tottilu” for Janmashtami, “Deepa rangoli” for Deepavali and the list goes on.
My mother told me that our grandmother had taught her how to draw rangoli. As there were hundreds of different patterns and designs she had drawn them in a notebook. She still has that notebook and is like a treasure to her. She has maintained it very well and it also contains her self-made and our grandmother’s recipes for Kashayas, Navilgaries,:-) etc.
When I started drawing rangolies my mother always stood and watched me. She was very particular about the rangolis. By doing so she made sure that I drew them in a right manner. It was a compulsory and routine early morning chores for me. She did not accept lame excuses for not drawing a rangoli daily. She did not like using a ‘seeme sunna’ or chalk-piece to draw a rangoli. She believed that it was a bad omen.
When I first came to New Zealand we stayed in a city called Invercargill. I was very much disappointed to see that there was no “Angala” in front of our home:( We had a driveway but it was usually wet due to continuous rains. We also had too much of wind and weather was always chilly! I missed drawing rangolies a lot over there. But when we shifted to Auckland, which is a warmer place than Invercargill I fulfilled my desire to draw various rangolis during our festivals:). I am sharing some of my rangolis here.
I have many more rangoli designs, which I would like to share them as time goes by.