Significance of Kolam

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Significance of kolam:

    It is customary to draw a kolam or rangoli at the entrance of the house.

    In olden days, the entrance to the house was usually a mud flooring. So water was sprinkled early in the morning so that the surface will not be eroded by the morning breeze and also to prevent dust from entering the house. Cowdung was mixed with water and sprinkled to act as a disinfectant. The ladies coming out to draw the kolam early in the morning had the benefit of ozone also.

    Previously the kolam was drawn only with rice flour. This was done so that crows, squirrels, ants may all eat the rice flour from the kolam. This is supposed to be one of the “ Pancha Maha Yagnas” which form the daily duties of a Hindu & is called “ Bhutha Yagna” which is intended to create in man, the spirit of sharing with all living beings.

    The kolam is a free hand drawing and a traditional form of art. These designs are believed to produce positive cosmic forces which will improve the lot of people who dwell in the house. We can also interpret it in the modern context as a sign of welcome to all people who come to the house. They denote a prayer “ let there be happiness & cheerfulness when anybody steps into the house.” If there is an artistic design, nobody will dirty the place also ! It is supposed to prevent undesirable elements from entering the house. This is specially taken care of by the red “ kaavi” lines drawn around the white kolam. The red kaavi lines are supposed to block the negative energy. Thus the white kolam surrounded by red kaavi lines, separates the auspicious, pure, protected, and safe world of the home from the inauspicious, impure, unprotected, and dangerous world of the outside.

    There are intricate kolams which are drawn with many dots. Completing them successfully needs a lot of concentration and patience.This gives a good training to our mind that whatever be the situations in life, we must learn to emerge out of them smoothly and tactfully.

    Besides giving aesthetic beauty at the entrance, the kolam also provides a physical exercise for the women, early in the morning. The bending and drawing the kolam gives a good exercise to the waist and hips, thereby strengthening them and giving them flexibility.

    The kolam is also supposed to honour, Lakshmi Devi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth & prosperity & to invite her blessings into the home. It is the best artistic outlet for a woman to start the day auspiciously.

    For important occasions and pujas, it is customary to soak raw rice, grind fine and draw kolam with it. When it becomes dry, it just sparkles invitingly, surrounded by red “ kaavi”.

    Posted below is a sample photo of “Maa kolam “ ( mentioned last ), drawn for all auspicious functions, at the entrance.

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     

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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    A suggestion for kolams in flats.

    Dear Friends,
    Now that " flat living" has come to stay, here is a suggestion for kolams at the entrance to the flat. Because of limited space, a kolam at the entrance is likely to be trampled upon and made messy. So 2 small kolams can be drawn on both sides of the entrance, to look inviting, when one enters the flat.
    Now Kolam Moulds are available in metal and plastic, which make the job easy from the practical point of view ( ofcourse, at the cost of losing the benefit of the exercise, I had mentioned earlier ! ).
    Flowers kept on the kolams add to the beauty of the entrance !
    Please see the photo posted below.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     

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  3. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    hi Chitra,
    As usual, a fantastic clear explanation on Kolam and its uses!

    was just asking my better half if i can dare to make a kolam at our doorstep, for which i got a glare!:tongue Will will definetely try out on oneof these days ..who knows i can bring back this tradition and spread it in Germany maybe!
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    The "glare" will change to " acceptance " !

    Dear Sudha,
    As you are aware by now, we Maduraites start " hard" , but end " soft" !
    With your artistic talents, I am sure you can make a beautiful design in kolam - what else can be a more pleasurable welcome to a man, returning home tired from work ? Why not you give a try ?
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  5. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Chitra,
    High hopes.....the glare was because he feels this place is not the one for kolams! I still remember the first year when i came here i made Krishnar paadams for krishna jayanti...and :cry: :oops: :evil:
    And anyway he works from home so i cannot expect any such sweet moments when he returns tired from work...ha ha ....for all u know he may get more angry and upset. But on the other hand i am sure to get some appreciation from my neighbors who are always admiring our indian culture!:p
     
  6. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    To: Mrs C & Sudha

    Dear Mrs C,

    Thanks for another informative article. You manage to compress so much in your posts making it effective reading. And such a nice photo of makolam and flowers on the doorstep. No wonder, your house is an embodiment of Shreetvam.

    Sudha- have fun with kolams on the doorstep. Just don't draw a Swastika! I made that mistake on one Diwali and got a letter from the town council asking if I support Nazi philosophy.

    cheers
    Vidya
     
  7. SuBa

    SuBa Senior IL'ite

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    Thursday is here!

    Dear Mrs.Chithra
    After the heavy stuff last week,"Kolams" made for a light-hearted reading some of which i already learnt from my mother.She still draws with rice flour.When Varloo had mentioned about lotus in brass urulis on either side of the entrance i was curious.Am glad i got to see the photo now.It looks beautiful and the same goes for your maa kolam also.I didn't know about the meaning of red kaavi and living here am starting to miss all that very much.
    Until next thursday,Mrs.C

    Love
    Suba.

    Dear Vidya
    That was a funny one.Swastik draws unwanted attention even here.

    Love
    Suba.
     
  8. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Thankyou Vidya !

    For me, you are the very embodiment of encouragement !
    I love all these embellishments like kolam & flowers, immensely & they give me a feeling of well being & good energy in the house.
    Now, swastik kolam is very auspicious for Ganesha ! Whenever there is a puja for Ganesha, I do draw it. Also swastik ( with 4 dots) prevents negative energy from entering the house & so I have fxed " Om" & swastik on my main entrance door !
    Once I bought swastik kola thattu for gifts & was highly appreciated by everybody ! Thank God I am living in Chennai !!
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  9. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Hello Suba !

    I warn you, it will not be always light-hearted stuff ! I plan to alternate.
    Thankyou for the feedback.
    I love kavi & the red hue it gives ! I know I am old fashioned, so what ?
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  10. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Significance of padi Kolam

    Dear Ms C,

    Nice to read the peice on Kolams. I love makolams and especialy the "ezhaikolams". Can you tell me the significance of padi kolams? I know that for every homam, or any other festival, we always used to do the padi kolam ( with the araicha mavu).

    Thanks
    Vandhana
     

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