Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Significance of Kolam (Rangoli)

I was having a rather interesting conversation with my grand mom (over 80 years), a few days ago and thought I should share this here. She asked me if I do a kolam (rangoli) everyday at my home here. No, I do not. And then she started explaining why kolam is important and its significance and why I should resume putting a kolam everyday even in Canada.

In her days, people used to get married at a very young age. My grand mom herself was 13 when she got married. People expected that daughter in laws are experts in home-managing-skills at such a tender age. They have to do all the work; cooking, cleaning, attending to never ending demands of in-laws/guests, taking care of kids (if any) etc. You might argue even now people do same things. The point is that in those days people used to live in joint-families and in big homes. So, taking care of home itself is a full-time job and more. All the chores take a physical toll.
Drawing a kolam apparently is like warm-up exercise before the long day ahead. How?
You need to first sweep the entrance of the home, mix cow dung in water and sprinkle on the entrance (which acts as a disinfectant and prevents the dust to enter the home); grind the soaked/dried rice into a fine powder (kolam) and then bend over and draw intricate design is a big task. It takes energy, but just enough to give a head start.

Second reason why kolam is important is the positive effect/energy it brings inside. We use Maakolam for this. Here is the image. The red design around this maakolam is believed to prevent the negative forces to enter the home. The intricate designs are believed to bring concentration (I guess that’s true).

Third reason is that, our elders believed (like we do) that everyone (humans and animals) co-exist peacefully in this world. Since the kolam is made of rice flour, ants come and eat the kolam as the day progresses.

Kolam is drawn at the time of sun rise, the time at which sun helps you to produce vitamin D in our body.

P.S: Picture taken from online.


  1. Nice explanation... I didnt knew so much !!

  2. Madhu, enjoyed the read...there is so much meaning related with this and elders are always there to rewind what we are losing out...

    Kolam/Rangoli is known as Alpona in Bengali. On special days and occasions I too draw alpona in my house.

  3. My information is that it is really to get greater positive energy.Perhaps,it is true.

  4. I have always loved Kolam traditon here..we people follow anything wester like fengshui etc for positive energy, but I feel this is the best are so lucky to have your Grandma...god bless you!!!

  5. Thanks all! i am glad you liked the post.