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How to Create Your Own Diwali Rangoli Designs

Diwali rangoli designs: person making a rangoli

Diwali is one of the most popular festivals in South Asia—and around the world, for that matter—with over 1 billion people celebrating it every year. Also known as Deepavali or Divali, the festival of light is often celebrated with beautiful rangoli designs.

Bring the holiday to your home by making your own Diwali rangoli designs. We’ve compiled some tips and tricks to inspire you to get into the Diwali spirit this year with DIY designs made from flowers, rice powder, and more.

What is Diwali?

The Diwali festival takes place every year for five days in mid-October or November. Since it’s based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar, the exact dates vary every year. For example, the main festival date for Diwali 2021 was Thursday, November 4th, and in 2022, it takes place on Monday, October 24th.

Although it’s often associated with India, many countries treat the Diwali festival as an important public holiday, including Singapore and Pakistan.

The Indian diaspora participates in Diwali celebrations around the world, so there are plenty of ways to make Diwali special, no matter where you are. Since Diwali honors the Goddess Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and fortune, it’s common to make special rangoli designs celebrating light and happiness.

Many participants begin making rangoli months in advance. So, before you go wishing your friends and family “Happy Diwali” this year, get into the festival spirit by making some Diwali rangoli designs of your own.

What is rangoli?

Rangoli is a traditional art form that originated in India. It’s also called kolam, alpona, ossa, and muggulu in different areas of India and in different languages.

Rangoli patterns range from simple Diwali designs to more complex patterns, such as a mandala. You can create unique rangoli designs on the floor using traditional materials, including ground rice powder, flowers, diyas, or special colored powders. Most rangoli consist of either “wet” or “dry” components.

Making new rangoli is an important part of celebrating Diwali. The design of each piece may have religious or special significance to the artist, and rangoli designs are often an heirloom passed down over generations.

But rangoli isn’t just used as a Diwali decoration. Rangoli and kolam designs are also created for other holidays and festivals. Small rangoli designs can last year-round as home decor.

One thing to remember, though, is that even the best rangoli designs aren’t meant to last forever. Rangoli materials can easily blow away in the wind or get disturbed by animals, so accepting their impermanence is part of the process.

How to create your own rangoli designs for Diwali

Two men making a beautiful rangoli

What better way to celebrate Diwali than to create your own rangoli designs? Even if you’ve never done it before, it can be easy to do with a plan in hand. Rangoli is truly a DIY art form for people of all experience levels.

To come up with beautiful rangoli designs yourself, all you have to do is choose your materials, select your design, and start creating.

Choose your materials

First, decide what materials you will use for your rangoli. One of the great things about rangoli designs is that they don’t cost a lot of money to make. Everyone can participate in Diwali regardless of how much money they want to spend.

You’ll find colorful rangoli in homes of all income levels. People improvise and use what they have on hand, making this a festival for people from all walks of life.

Many people use pigment powders especially created and sold for making Rangoli art, but you don’t have to go out of your way to buy them. Household spices like turmeric and chili work great for colors like yellow and red.

You can also use flower petals, sand, rice powder, stone or brick powder, or chalk to incorporate different colors and textures.

Grains and beads make a great addition along the borders of your rangoli and provide a 3-D effect. Diyas or candles are often integrated in some parts of the design. In some places, artists even use sawdust to create floating rangoli on water.

Select your rangoli design and significance

Next, decide what the shape of your rangoli will be and its significance to you. If you’re not re-creating a family design, you have a range of options to choose from for your artistic expression. You may want to choose a simple rangoli design of a flower or animal, or a more detailed representation of a Hindu god or goddess.

For Diwali, images of Lakshmi are common. One idea is to show Lakshmi’s “footsteps” as she enters the home. For other festivals like Holi, Navratri, or Ganesh Chaturthi, you may see rangoli impressions of other deities like Lord Ganesha.

Peacock rangoli designs are also very popular, since the peacock is the national bird of India and its bright features are a natural fit for colorful rangoli designs. And in Kerala, residents celebrate Onam Day with flower rangoli designs made from marigolds and chrysanthemums. This style of rangoli is called “pookalam.”

Once you have an image in mind, decide whether you’ll be able to create the rangoli free-hand or if you need to create a stencil impression to work from.

Many artists share their designs online, so check out some photos for inspiration before you get to work. Here’s a stunning rangoli design featuring a peacock:

And this slideshow shows rangoli that use a variety of different materials:

Follow tutorials to help make your rangoli

Still not sure how to go about bringing your Diwali rangoli designs to life? Fortunately, you can find plenty of tutorials online for easy rangoli designs that require only a few simple household tools and materials.

This one, for example, uses bottle caps for the rounded shapes:

This beautiful and easy-to-make rangoli uses bowls from the kitchen:

And this simple rangoli uses real flowers and leaves:

With so many rangoli designs and materials to choose from, your options for creativity are endless. And did we mention that making rangoli is a fun activity for kids too?

Depending on your living situation, you may have to get creative with where you display your rangoli. Linoleum tiles and carpeted floors aren’t great for rangoli, so if you need to, you can paint your rangoli design on paper or cardboard instead.

Young people celebrating Diwali

Sending money home for Diwali

With Remitly, it’s easy to send money to India, Fiji, Malaysia, and many other countries that celebrate Diwali. We know that even from far away, you want to stay close to family and friends during special occasions. We’re here when you need to send money home safely and easily.

Download the app today to get started.

Further reading