Saturday, December 10, 2005


Kolam (in Tamil) is a decorative design drawn using rice powder by female members of the family in front of their home ,especially near the threshold. A kolam is a sort of painted prayer-- a line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around grid pattern of dots, They are generally symmetirc.
On festival days, functions we put this kolam in front of our courtyard,puja room. Kolams are thought to bestow prosperity to the homes. For special occasions limestone and red brick powde(kavi) to contrast are also used.Though kolams are usually done with rice flour, for longevity dilute rice paste or even paints are also used. Modern interpretations have accommodates chalk and the latest technology in kolams are actually stickers (that defeat the original purpose).
Every morning in southern India millions of women draw kolams on the ground with white rice powder.Through the day, the drawings get walked on, rained out, blown around in the wind, new ones are made the next day. Every morning before sunrise, the floor is cleaned with water, the universal purifier, and the muddy flour and swept well for an even surface. The kolams are generally drawn while the surface is still damp so that it held better. Occasionally, cow-dung is also used to wax the floors. Cow dung has antiseptic properties and hence provides a literal threshold of protection for the home. It also provides contrast with the white powder.

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