Nature Mandalas for Diwali

In honor of Diwali, India’s festival of light, and to enhance our feelings of connection to the rest of the world, we made Nature Mandalas, also known as Rangolis today. ‘Rangoli,’ a Sanskrit word meaning creative expression through color, is the art of drawing beautiful patterns on the floor, typically using colored powder.

Leaf and Flower Nature Mandala

In India, Rangolis are often created near the front door to welcome Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. Our nature mandala features maple leaves, grasses, berries and flower petals.

Since colored powders aren’t readily available here, we used natural elements to make one of our Rangolis. Colorful leaves, grass, flowers and berries worked beautifully. For the other, we used colored chalk on wet pavement.

Chalk Rangoli

Dust is an issue in India so most women sweep daily, usually disrupting their Rangoli in the process. For us, the rain and wind will take our designs away or animals will wander off with the berries but it was still great fun.

Sara didn’t care that it was cold and rainy, she happily continued drawing once our Rangoli was complete. First she drew herself, then William.

Chalk Drawing of Boy

And finally, Mom and Dad (I especially like my long flowing red dress).

Chalk Drawings on Sidewalk

It turns out Sara was more on track with her artistic diversion than I first realized. Rangolis are often geometric but they can take any form, they’re just supposed to be pretty. Between the nature mandala and her chak drawing, I think Sara made our driveway look quite lovely. Even though Diwali is being celebrated on the other side of the globe, India’s festival of light brought considerable light and joy to our lives today.

  • Resources:
    Celebrations are a brilliant way to make global connections and broaden children’s horizons. The book,  Children Just Like Me: Celebrations!, written in 1997 in association with UNICEF, has become one of our favorite resources for learning about traditions around the world.
    One of my favorite blogs is Mommy Labs, thoughtfully written by a mother named Rashmie who lives in India with her husband and daughter. She beautifully blends the traditions of Diwali into kid-friendly crafts.