Rangoli is an art form originating in the Indian subcontinent, in which patterns are created on the floor or a tabletop using materials such as powdered lime stone, red ochre, dry rice flour, coloured sand, quartz powder, flower petals, and coloured rocks

It is an everyday practice in Hindu households, however the colours are preferred during festivals and other important celebrations as it is time consuming

Rangoli are usually made during Diwali or Tihar, Onam, Pongal, Sankranthi and other Hindu festivals in the Indian subcontinent, and are most often made during Diwali

Designs are passed from one generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive

Rangoli have different names based on the state and culture

Rangoli hold a significant role in the everyday life of a Hindu household especially historically when the flooring of houses were untiled

They are usually made outside the threshold of the main entrance, in the early mornings after cleaning the area

Traditionally, the postures needed to make a rangoli are a kind of exercise for women to straighten their spines

The rangoli represents the happiness, positivity and liveliness of a household, and is intended to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck

It is believed that a Hindu household without a clean entrance and rangoli is an abode of daridra (bad luck)

The purpose of rangoli is beyond decoration

Traditionally either powdered calcite and limestone or cereal powders are used for the basic design

The limestone is capable of preventing insects from entering the household, and the cereal powders attract insects and keep them from entering the household

Using cereal powders for rangoli is also believed as panchayat booth Seva because insects and other dust microbes are fed

Design depictions may vary as they reflect traditions, folklore, and practices that are unique to each area

Rangoli are traditionally made by girls or women, although men and boys create them as well

In a Hindu household, basic rangoli is an everyday practice

The usage of colours and vibrant designs are showcased during occasions such as festivals, auspicious observances, marriage celebrations and other similar milestones and gatherings

Rangoli designs can be simple geometric shapes, depictions of deities, or flower and petal shapes appropriate to the given celebrations

They can also be made with elaborate designs crafted by numerous people

The geometric designs may also represent powerful religious symbols, placed in and around household yagna shrines

Historically, basic designs were drawn around the cooking areas for the purpose of discouraging insects and pathogens

Synthetic colours are a modern variation

Other materials include red brick powder and even flowers and petals, as in the case of flower rangoli

Over time, imagination and innovative ideas in rangoli art have also been incorporated

Rangoli have been commercially developed in places such as five star hotels

Its traditional charm, artistry and importance continue today