Rangoli is a form of painting that is very popular in India which involves painting patterns on the floor, the walls using white and colored powders. It is used to decorate the front portion of the houses on auspicious days as well as on festivals. The term rangoli originates from two words ’rang’ meaning color and ’aavalli’ meaning colored creepers or rows of color. It is said in Sanskrit text that Ranjoli is five millenia old. In South India, sandpaintings (Rangoli) is drawn using rice powder by women in front of their home. It is also considered to be a sort of painted prayer. Every morning before sunrise, the floor is cleaned with water or with cow dung which is considerend to be a universal purifier and the surface is made even. The rangoli are drawn when the floor is still damp and everyday new rangoli is drawn.
Rangoli is not just for decoration purpose. In earlier days, rangoli’s are drawn using coarse rice flour. People used to draw using rice flour so that the ants, birds and other small critters or insects will come and eat their meal. These insects are invited everyday as a tribute to harmonious co-existence and not just for Goddess Lakshmi Devi.
Rangoli are deliberations to present prosperity to homes. The religious significance is that gods get attracted towards rangoli and hence while inviting a god into a house; the house should be decorated with rangoli. It was also considered to be a matter of pride to be able to draw large rangoli with complicated patters without lifting their hands from the floor. The patters are often passed on one generation to another generation from mothers to their daughters.