Among the many traditions of Diwali, rangoli holds a symbolic place in the hearts of many families. This popular Indian folk art sees people creating customised designs on their doorsteps. And these striking artworks serve as a welcome to passers-by, guests, and more importantly, Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity.
Designs are created using coloured powders, crushed limestone, flower petals, diyas and foods such as rice, beans, and lentils. They tend to have different religious implications, with families often passing on customised patterns from one generation to the next, ensuring this cultural art form is kept alive.
A rangoli is usually symmetrical, with a geometrical structure to represent the infinite nature of time. They can also include images of wildlife elements such as birds, snakes and fish, or celestial themes with suns, moons and zodiac signs. The overall pattern can also be bordered by a lotus design, to represent the beginning of life.
Many rangolis are the same size as a doormat but there is no limit to how big one can be – Diwali enthusiasts with big gardens have been known to cover the entire courtyard with these beautiful and bright designs.