You may have heard the term, and wondered “What is Rangoli?” Rangoli is a decorative folk art from India that is created on the ground in front of entrances to homes, inside the homes, or in courtyards during celebrations to bring good luck and welcome Hindu gods and goddesses. The art is both a religious and cultural symbol, and is found in all homes regardless of income. The details in rangoli decorations can include lotus flowers, mango leaves, geometric shapes, or other elaborate designs made of rice flour, colored sand, or even flower petals. First, let’s see how people in India make rangoli, then we’ll look at some examples from around the world, and finally the kids can make their own rangoli decorations. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!
Where is Rangoli from?
India is the 2nd most populous country in the world, with over 1.2 billion people. Most of the people in India follow the Hindu religion, but there are also Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs and people have the freedom to practice any religion they wish. There are several hundred different languages in India, though the 2 official languages are Hindi, and English. There are 28 states in India, and the traditional folk art of rangoli is practiced across the entire country. In this video, you can watch students make rangoli designs for a competition in Dav College, in Jalandhar, Punjab, India (noted on the above map, way in the north part of India).
My children have asked the same question: “What is rangoli mommy?” The children’s book Rangoli: Discovering the Art of Indian Decoration, by Anuradha Ananth introduces rangoli to the youngest children, with a story about a little kid who finds rangoli around his village. Multicultural children’s literature is so important to help show kids different perspectives, and celebrations around the world.
How to Make Rangoli
After you teach your kids about India, explain what is rangoli, and show them how the designs are made, browse through these rangoli images in google. Notice the colors, the patterns, and the different materials used in the decorations. There are several ways kids can make their own masterpiece.
One way is to print out a rangoli pattern coloring page and decorate it with markers and glitter, as my daughter is doing in this photo (above) at a local Diwali festival.
You can also check out this fabulous rangoli drawing book, with activities and designs to follow. Rangoli: An Indian Art Activity Book by Suma O’Farrell shows examples for all ages- and honestly I enjoyed it as an adult! There are dot grids (like on the cover, left) guide you to create different types of designs, guaranteeing that your rangoli look amazing.
Another way for older kids to explore and create rangoli is to draw a design in white chalk on the sidewalk or driveway. Carefully spread colored sand
into the sections to complete your decoration (or just color in with chalk)! I have more pictures of our rangoli here.
Have you ever seen these incredible decorations? Do they remind you of anything from your culture?
Check out all of our Diwali activities! There are so many ways to share this religious and cultural celebration with your children.