Diwali (or Deepawali or Deepavali) is the Festival of Lights. It’s an ancient Hindu festival that’s celebrated in Autumn every year (usually around Guy Fawkes Night in the UK). The festival signifies that people who follow a good paths don’t resort to injustice always win over evil forces. The lighting of candles, lanterns or diyas is also significant. Light refers to knowledge, wisdom and prosperity. Darkness refers to ignorance and evil forces. Lighting of candles (diyas) during the Diwali festival signifies the prevalence of knowledge and wisdom over ignorance.
An important part of Diwali celebrations is Rangoli; an Indian tradition folk art which is generally created on the floor on some festive occasions (marriages, birth ceremonies and other festivals). Rangoli is a Sanskrit word signifying a creative expression of art by means of colours. Beautiful Rangoli patterns and designs are made at the entrance to a home to welcome guests. During Diwali, Rangoli are also made to welcome the goddess Laxmi (goddess of wealth and fortune). People make various types of geometrical patterns and designs and place an oil stand (diyas) in the middle. Whilst there is no limit on the size of a Rangoli they are usually the size of a doormat.
To make a Rangoli the floor must be clean and tidy and use vibrant colours. The colour is made from rice flour, rice paste, pulses and leaves. Rice is a symbol of prosperity. The colour is held between the thumb and forefinger and it runs through the gap created. (Engineers are fascinated by the even delivery of the colour!). The designs are always hand made carved by fingers. Single lines are usually drawn with a single finger, like a pencil. The predominant colour is white as this is a symbol of peace, purity and tranquility. Turmeric yellow is often used to colour in the outline as yellow is also a symbol of prosperity. Vermilion is used as it is considered auspicious and peas are sometimes used as well.
The variety of design and pattern of the Rangoli is purely down to the skill and artistic nature of the person making it. A pattern outline is made using dots which are then joined together to make a pattern or design. Once the pattern is made then the colours are filled in.
Diwali is one of the times that Rangolis complete the preparations to welcome guests to celebrate.
Update (Rez)… Rangoli also encompasses flower petals as seen in this stunning example in the lobby of the Marriott hotel, Goa