Creative Expression in Hunduism

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Creative expression in Hinduism is often incorporated through rituals and daily tasks. Hindu women have the opportunity to express themselves creatively through the daily creation of kolams, also known as Rangoli. Kolams are intricate drawings that serve as a proclamation to the world of various meanings, and also a unique form of communication, dependent on their design. These kolams can express many meanings such as announcing that their home is welcome to others, announce special events, worship deities, and celebrate festivals.
Every morning, the woman of the household designs a new kolam pattern outside the front of their door. The women first “sweep their thresholds, sprinkle them with a solution of cow dung and water and cover the area with elaborate, symmetrical figures using rice powder. According to tradition, the cow dung cleans and purifies the ground and using the rice powder begins the day with an act of kindness by providing food for ants and other insects,” (Ascher). This is an auspicious way that women can start their day and also help others in the process. Sometimes kolams are made out of rice and other foods so that they will attract small animals such as cats and dogs. These animals will then eat the food. The designs that the women draw are different each day, but each design has certain figures and symbols that hold a deeper meaning. Many of the designs start out with a grid of dots that eventually get connected with symmetrical lines. In some designs, it is important to start and end each line at the same point, creating a circle or loop within the design. “These closed, continuous figures--and others made up of a few such closed lines--are associated with the never-ending cycle of birth, fertility and deat...

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...ily activity for people to participate in pookalam competitions. These special kolams are an offering to deities and have a certain auspicious honor.
As one can see from the examples presented, kolams have an assortment of meanings and uses. Kolams can be used to welcome strangers off the streets, and can offer them a hot bowl of food. They can be used to announce important family events, such as births, deaths, and menstruation. They can be used to worship deities and spread auspicious power. Lastly, they can be used to celebrate festivals such as Onam and honor deities. Although these are only a few common examples, there are many other meanings and reasons why kolams are created. Regardless of their meanings, kolams are an expression of Hindu culture and will be continued to evolve and enlarge as history moves on and will always be an artistic symbol of Hindusim.

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