By P Charitha
Rangavalli Muggu or Rangoli as it is popularly known in the country is an important aspect of Sankranti festival. As a matter of fact Sankranti is incomplete without the colourful and geometrical piece of art which adds to the festive flair especially in the two Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The word Rangoli is derived from the Sanskrit word Rangavalli, a combination of two words Rang and Avalli. Rang means colour and Avalli means rows and lines.
The beautiful yet simple geometric designs come in different styles and designs. Muggulu/Rangolis are thought to bring prosperity to homes. It is a sign of invitation to welcome people, including Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity and wealth into our homes.
The beauty of laying Muggu/Rangoli in front of our homes has many important aspects.
1. Hygiene: You clean the front of your home first thing in the morning and put the Muggu. In the olden days they would wash and clean the front of the house with water mixed with cow-dung, and after it dried they would lay out the design with rice flour.
2. Health: With hygiene comes health.When your home is clean, the household and members in it are healthy. The art of putting the traditional Muggu is also a kind of exercise for the lady of the house where she has to bend and stand.
3. Creativity: Drawing different types of Muggulu/Rangolis enhances creativity. The more number of designs and patterns you know shows off how creative one can get while drawing these Muggulu. In fact for every Sankranti, there are competitions held for women as to who can draw and colour the most creative design for which prizes are given- an event which ladies who are keen on drawing Muggulu/Rangolis look forward to.
4.Muggu and Astronomy: There is a fine connection between the dots put in the Muggu and the stars in the sky. The dots which are called Chukkalu in Telugu mean stars. The intricate joining of patterns is significant to the stars in the sky and the patterns in it are taken as designs for muggus.
5. Fosters Harmony: In Indian philosophy, there is a concept of living in harmony with creatures around you. There was a habit to feed the crows before we eat or feed the cows and elephants when we visit the temple, etc. We believe that if you do good karma to the creatures around you each day, they bless you. In olden days, Muggulu were drawn with rice flour, so that the ants and birds need not have to walk too far or too long for a meal.
6. Science behind the pattern:There is also a scientific reason behind this beautiful art. When a person looks at a geometric pattern, it manifests into vibrations inside the mind of the observer that in turn calms the mind. And this is exactly what the Muggu/Rangoli does to one’s mind i.e., it has a soothing effect.
The colours used in these rich geometric/ floral designs for Sankranti also have a special significance. White signifies coolness and purity, red signifies strength, yellow signifies richness, green signifies harmony, orange signifies sacrifice and blue signifies happiness.