This festival is celebrated to signify the first harvest. Like any other Indian festival people get busy with food preparation and religious ceremonies. However there are two key features of this festival. One is about flying kites and the other is about adorning homes with RANGOLI.

Rangoli by definition is an intricately designed geometrical figure with shades of bright colours filled to depict an important life form, ritual or custom of the festival. Rangoli is made in front of people’s homes, as a sign of welcoming powers of deities. Styles of rangoli differ by region and culture.

What is used to make rangoli?

Rangoli can be made by chalk powder, rice powder or white rock powder. On festive occasions  synthetic colours are used to add more beauty to the design. Some opt to use natural colours like vermilion, turmeric and flower petals.

Rangoli in different provinces. 

Rangoli is found everywhere in India but is referred differently.

Kolam – KERALA

Aripan – BIHAR

Purna – Uttar Pradesh

Muggu – Andhra Pradesh

Alpana – Maharashtra

Alikhtahp – Kumaon

What is required to learn this art form?

One needs to have the ability to make sense out of geometric figures. Basic skills of drawing, creativity and lots of practice is required to to develop in this art form. To start with, we need to practice small designs with dots in an odd and even arrangement.

Some reasonably difficult designs look like this. One needs to mark around the dots and form these designs. Few other designs require marking on the dots and making comprehensible figures which pertain to deities and festivals. Rangoli in different regions have mythological and religious significance.

Some useful resources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolam

http://rangolidesigns.in/

http://bloomingdesignstudio.com/blog//index.php/2008/01/31/kolam

http://rangolisansdots.blogspot.in/2012/12/margazhi-kolam-collection.html