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Reason For Drawing Rangoli? - History - Importance Of Rangoli In Hinduism - Religious Significance

Rangoli is an important part of Hindu festivals and celebrations. But ever wondered why do we draw Rangoli?. The reason for drawing rangoli is that it symbolizes happiness and prosperity. It is a welcome sign for Goddess Lakshmi. The origin and history of Rangoli is associated with Pandavas of the Mahabharata. It is believed that Draupadi drew three lines before cooking showing her gratitude to Surya, the sun god.

Rangoli are basically a sign of welcome – part of Atithi Devo Bhava – guests are equal to god.

The popular belief across India is that Rangoli invites Goddess Lakshmi into the home. It also stands for cleanliness.

Importance Of Rangoli In Hinduism

Rangoli is the auspicious drawings of intricate decorative patterns, created  using colors, flowers and rice flour. It is customarily placed on the ground before the deity in the puja griha (the place of worship in homes), in front of the house and also in other places.

The custom is still practiced throughout India. It is drawn during auspicious occasions and festivals throughout India. It is drawn daily in many regions in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu daily – known as kolam. Urban conditions and modern developments have not hampered with this practice of Tamil Hindus.

It represents auspiciousness, positivity, hope, happiness, plenty and fertility. It also signifies unity and happiness within a family.

History Of Rangoli

The word rangoli comes from the Sanskrit expression ranga-valli, which is found in Udara Raghava of Sankalya Malla around the middle of the 14th century. He refers to these designs as a collection of unharvested pearls.

Rangoli is known as Muggu in Telugu and kolam in Tamil.

Bhakta Potana’s Bhagavatam in Telugu in the 15th century also describes this custom.
Bana Bhatta in the 6th century refers to them as auspicious drawings in the Kadambari.

Vadibha Simha, around the 12th century, in his Gadya Chintamani, mentions the custom as the drawing of auspicious lines with red powder.

In Kannada, Marathi, and Hindi, the drawings are known as Rangoli, as mentioned, from the Sanskrit ranga-valli.

Religious Significance of Drawing Rangoli

The custom of drawing rangoli appears to be very old and may have had its origin in the days of the Pandavas. It is believed that during their exile period in the Mahabharata, Draupadi before cooking used to draw three lines of rice flour on the traditional cooking hearth. This was for expressing gratitude to sun god for giving them a divinely blessed vessel to cook food.

The practice was followed by Hindu women. They offer their gratitude to the rising sun – who is the pratyaksha Brahman or the visible god.

It is believed that the sun's energy will drive out all kinds of negative forces  and it will usher in goodness.

The three symbolic white lines on the hearth was later extended to other places and with different colors. They were drawn on thresholds, walls and other areas and with different designs based on the imagination of the individual.