Friday, January 18, 2013

Maa Kolam – a cultural identity of Tamil!

Pongal Kolam by mom
Maa Kolam is one of a cultural identity of Tamil people and drawing a beautiful as well colorful designs at the doorstep during festival seasons, will fascinate everyone with a smiling face: there’s a flat mate in our apartment who pass comments usually encouraging us when we do something traditionally and seeing our pot kolam on Pongal, he says that it remind his hometown. Doesn't it make sense and smile knowing it felt someone nostalgic? Whether it is in India or abroad, Kolam stays as a stable distinct feature of Tamils; with various forms wherever they are settled. Kolam becomes a reflection of individual skill of Tamils and basic faiths of goddess those believe in such. And even we don’t have big thought about kolam that unites the diverse features of life, exposes the artistic talent of homemakers.

There isn’t a specific period when the practice of Kolam took shape, but a traditional kolam is drawn on rice flour and its posture has changed on various stages from plain white to colorful state now. Next to rice flour, the Kolam is drew on a powder grind from a specific white stone and later the colors or flowers are added to enhance the beauty during the festival season. The specific of drawing kolam is believed to bring auspicious to home and by doing so we also keep our house and streets clean and doorstep looks artistry. The kolam is based on a calculation of dots, which has various methods like straight and cross dot, lines and flower patterns become a support in life esp. for women in solving many loopholes in family. So it seemed as an essential for women practicing kolem which helps in developing their mindset and optimizes their existing talents and noble cause.  

Pongal Kolam
Kolams are drawn on various states of India and variety in styles. For example: the Athipoo Kolam of Kerala and Rangoli drawn in north Indian states are equally noted for the kolam drawn in Tamil Nadu.  Besides Alpana of West Bengal, Sanji of Uttar Pradesh and Rangavalli Muggu in Andhra Pradesh. Athipoo Kolams were drawn with flour first and later decorated with flowers which mostly used are marigold, oleander and chicken crest flowers. Rangoli is a colorful kolam, drawn using salt to increase the color saturation and prevent spreading of colors in wind and moreover the salt is comprised as pride of wealth.

Not only during festivals, Kolam drawn as a daily activity of Tamil Nadu: we are one of the countless houses that drew Kolam everyday at the doorstep and during the Tamil month of Margazhi a special attention is given to Kolam. At this time of month, conducting kolam festivals are specific in Tamil Nadu and unlike many other festivals celebrated during this month, a festival for Kolam is only held at here. In Margazhi everyone used to draw a big kolam in front of their homes and using this, people in their area or street create a team and conduct contests and gifts are presented to those well drawn. And it does not only stop there, but by this way people are motivated to disclose their talents and encouraged for an enthusiastic challenge.

Pongal Kolam
Another reason to draw kolam with rice flour was because it giving life to the tiny species on surface, esp. ants use the softly grind-ed flour as their favorite food to survive. During the festival of Pongal that begins with the Tamil month of Thai, is a wonderful time to sight very colorful kolams indicating the rice boiling over the pot, sugarcane and turmeric images taking place besides the kolam. And the Pongal pot is kept to boil over at the header part of the kolam, before worshiping the sun. The same follows with the Mattu Pongal (bull pongal), where kolams are drawn with images of bulls, calves and bells and drawing kolam during the period of Pongal is a fascinating thing as well showcases the pride and happiness of family. And writing pongalo pongal in between the kolam conveys the wishes to everyone passes through the street and certainly kolam has become a lasting part of the beautiful Tamil culture.

(The photos on the pongal kolam where drawn by my mother, during the occasion.)

17 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Jeevan this was really interesting. I enjoyed learning about the Kolam in this post :)

TexWisGirl said...

how awesome! your mother made such beauty!

i like the idea of using flowers for the colors. so natural and stunning.

ashok said...

awesome colors!

Destination Infinity said...

As you say, kolam is drawn using rice flour so that small creatures like ants can eat it. Our ancestors very well knew the importance of small creatures (like ants) in our eco-system. By using sticker and artificial kolam powders, we are only showing our ignorance and carelessness.

Destination Infinity

George said...

Thank you for the information about kolam. The drawings made by oyour mother are beautiful.

Betsy Adams said...

Gorgeous art... I love all of the colors. Such talent your mother showed... Beautiful!!!
Betsy

Indrani Ghose said...

Lovely captures, great designs.

ladyfi said...

Those kolams are so lovely!

Rajesh said...

I love this rangoli.

Kalyan said...

thats just beautiful and nice knowing about it in details!

Arti said...

How artistic and skillful! Loved the designs and got to learn so much about kolam art today. Many thanks for sharing.

Simran said...

What a beautiful Kolam by your sweet mother!! Loved it!

The tradition of South India fascinates.Its great to know more and more :)

Thank you so much for sharing!
Happy Pongal to you and family :)

Meoww said...

I am more of a nelivu kolam person. Anyway, loved your description and the colors of the rangoli :)

Krishna said...

beautifully done... with nice colors

thanks jeevan

Pattu Raj said...

This is beautiful Tamizh culture, and I admire those people who drew those lovely kolam , on the driveway.

A lovely post about our Pongal Jeevan!And the photographs too were very pretty.

Preetilata【ツ】 said...

Beautiful and informative.

Lakshmi said...

Lovely picture..brought back memories although I am no Kolam person..