Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why is "Alpana"done?



'Alpana ' as it is commonly called in Bengal ,'Kolam'in some parts of south India,'Aripana' in Bihar, and 'Rangoli'as it is commonly called in most parts of India,is a very auspicious art form portrayed in most of the houses.'Rangoli 'is derived from the words -'rang'=colors and 'avalli'=rows ;Sanskrit words,and is an art form where colors are used in an organized manner in rows to create some pattern or design.
          Rangoli used grounded dried rice floor traditionally for drawing the designs and was later replaced  by dried lime stone /chalk powder .colors were created traditionally by the natural colors like 'kumkum',a red powder made from the traditional 'crocus sativus /'kesar' plant;yellow'haldi'or turmeric powder derived from 'circum longa plant ;black  color  from ashes from the burnt wood /charcoal ,brown color fron the wood saw dust,green from dried leaves ,and so on.;but gradually these colors were replaced by the chemicals and have a variety of colors like red ,green ,black ,orange yellow available now.
       Rangoli is drawn in most parts of the south India,everyday at the door step using a plain white powder,as a symbolism of 'good luck 'and prosperity and it is said that the rangoli has a power to ward off the evil spirits and  purify the houses and welcome only the 'good'.In most parts of India ,'rangoli'is done with a lot of colors and decorations during a festival /function as a symbolism to  invite/welcome  the guests in a colorful way ,with a theme'athiti Devo bhava' /guests are  equivalent to god .Some important occasions like the Diwali,Laxmi pooja ,navratri or certain pooja/worships, have rangoli drawn near the god's room as ritual to welcome the god/goddess to the house to incorporate wealth /prosperity in the house and shower blessings on the house members.They also create various designs of god /goddess in the art form or also have some holy auspicious symbols like 'om','swastik','kalash','lighting lamp'etc during these occasions.A traditional house warming ceremony or 'ganesh homa'/sacrificial fire to god would have rangolis having some specific colors and designs created by the priest doing these ceremony.They also use grains,lentils ,pulses,glitters ,flowers and lamps to decorate and add a charm to the rangoli.
      Now ,the funniest part is that I do not know to draw a rangoli and my constant strenuous efforts have often been in vain!so what I do is, get some ready made mould designs, and splatter some powder over them with an intended pattern and at a jiffy, 'rangoli's are made!:)The one in the picture was my Gujarati neighbor's design for Diwali.good one right?
   

22 comments:

SG said...

Thanks for the very informative post on Rangoli.

Mangala said...

Interesting!

anupama said...

Hye nice post... i dint know RANGOLI had so many different names...

raji said...

@mangala and sg thanks.

@anu,even i got to know these names recently;i like this name 'alpana'..so beautiful,this name suits a gal child right?

anupama said...

yes raji... alpana makes a good name... what might be the word meaning?

Stranger said...

Thank you for the informative post. so many different names for Rangoli !
Raji, Like you even i dont know to draw one. sure your Gujarati neighbors Kolam looks cute..

dr.antony said...

It is called "Kalom" or "Kolam" here. Alpana? Havent heard.

....Petty Witter said...

Hi Raji, many thanks for stopping by Pen and Paper. An interesting and informative post, thanks for sharing it with us, especially the photogragh. Nice to meet you, I've enjoyed my visit.

Whirlwind said...

Its a beautiful Rangoli.:)

chitra said...

That was interesting info on rangoli.Rice flour was used to create kolam so that it would be food for ants too.

Black Walnut Pearl said...

Nice!! Your neighbor's rangoli is beautiful! We used to make rangoli back in India, but never came that perfect.

sm said...

informative
beautiful rangoli pic

NRIGirl said...

Cool... Thank you for the detailed post.

Bikramjit said...

very intersting review.. thanks i shud say I had no idea on this ...

Bikram's

A said...

Very nice description

KParthasarathi said...

As Chitra said the main purpose of Kolams was to provide food for ants,an act of compassion.The kolams with intricate patterns dedicated to some gods also keep at bay evil influences and confer benefits, it is believed.
I have observed how the maids who sprinkle water and put kolams early in the mornings weave sheer magic with some white powder(moggu maavu) thro dots and lines bringing out breathtaking patterns.A

ARUNA said...

That's a nice piece of information Raji!

raji said...

thanks aruna

Abhilash Pillai said...

ha ha... that was great. So you used the moulds to make rangoli.

:)

I know to make rangoli. I am sad that I missed diwali this time with my parents.

Good information Raji

kavita said...

A very informative post ..loved it :
)In Assam too they make rangoli but only on the day of Laxmi Puja .

I originally belong to Uttranchal where we call it Aipan ...we use rice powder but in liquid form .I learnt drawing Aipan from my grand mom and mom.

raji said...

@Abhi .good yaar you know ranoli!shame on me:)hehe
@kavita ji,thanks .so I got one more name 'aipan'nice ..

Rachna said...

Nice information. I certainly did not know the different words by which rangoli is known in different regions. It's only of late that I have started doing rangoli on diwali with diyas etc., more at the behest of my kids than anything else :).