Kolam is a very ancient tradition of Tamil nadu. It is done in the form of the sandpainting don with the help of flour of rice by the female head of the family in their entrance. It is followed in a grand way by the people of South India. Kolam is actually a form of geometry lines that are decorated in the form of loops and curves that are designed in a grid pattern with the help of the dots.
Kolam are generally drawn to welcome prosperity in the home. The mornings in the south of India begins with many of the women designing the Kolum in front of their house with rice powder. The designs do not stay for longer or for the whole day. It get washed or rained out or even some times blown along with the wind. Hence, each day a new designed is made in the entrance of the house. It’s in the Culture of south India that the entrance of the home is cleaned with the water which is considered to be the universal purifier every day in the early morning and then the Kolum is designed in the beautiful manner. The Kolum are most preferably drawn when the ground is damp as it can hold the rice powder in a better form. Sometimes, the people here use cow dung on the floor on the special occasion. It is believed in many cultures that the cow dung has the properties that iyt act as an antiseptic and hence, it gives the protection to members of the home. It also acts as a contrast to the white powder of the rice.
Decoration is not the sole reason of designing Kolum in front of the house. In the ancient period, the Kolum was drawn with the help of coarse rice flours so that the ants don’t have to work hard for their food. The rice powders are specially meant to give invitation to the birds and the other small creatures and get attached to the Mother Nature every day at home. This is just like giving tribute to the harmonious co existence. It is meant to welcome all the creature and living being on the earth, even the Goddess Lakshmi known for the Goddess of Wealth. It is also design that symbolizes the dots that it is free and it also contains the close structures. It is believed that the lines of the Kolum must be completed. This was made important just to keep away all the evil spirits from entering in the shapes that are designed here and thus stopping the entry of the evil spirits inside the house.
It is matter of fact that it is very difficult to draw the complete and large and complicated structures and designs in front of the house. The rule is that one cannot lift the hand from the floor and has to continue this design in the circular manner. During the month of Margazh, the women of the South India eagerly await as there are many competition and the roads of the South India are fully covered with the Kolum.
The special occasion like wedding in South India has beautiful and big Kolums stretching across the roads. Patterns of the Kolums are often passed from one generation to another.
Even the powder made from the White stone can be used to design Kolums.
Seasonal messages specially for bestowing the people are often used in kolum. Devotees wish to draw Kolum in front of the Temple after their wish has been fulfilled.
There is a certain variation that is found in designing the Kolum. Sometimes the Limestones, brick powder that is red in color, dilute paste of rice or even the paints are used to draw Kolums. Modern equipments such as the chalk powder and the vinly stickers are used as options today.