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Forms of Festive Patterns in India

by Sheetal Alreja *

‘Festive Patterns'
In India, design has always been a part of everyday life. Indian Festive Decoration is very diverse and rich in terms of its graphical elements and patterns. Its found everywhere, on objects, artifacts, environments, religion, occasions and events. Decoration has evolved through centuries with the influence of new materials and techniques.

For example, Rangoli was used to decorate the entrances of homes, a floor-painting which provided a warm welcome to visitors. Every region in India has its own interpretation of Rangoli. With the help of technology, this art has been reproduced in the form of stickers. Though the technology has helped to reproduce the traditional art form, but because of mass production, the creative variations of forms that were inherent to these art forms have been

Here is an attempt to document decorations that are readily available in the market, with varied forms and patterns. The main area where almost all kinds of decoration material is available in Mumbai is around Dadar station. Before every festival the area has lanes filled with decorations, which come from different parts of the country. The festivals covered were - Ganesh Chathurthi, Navratri, Durga Pooja, Dassera and Diwali.

The documentation consisted of lamps, lanterns, torans, pots, rangoli stickers, garlands. These were then visually analysed on the basis of shape, colour, level of intricacy, repeated patterns and motifs. The major recurring decorative elements were graphically reduced to basic elements. These were further used for creating patterns of various kinds.


‘Ganesh Chaturthi Decoration
(Makhar & Sinhasan)'

Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesh.
It is celebrated in Maharshtra and many other places on a grand scale. ‘Makhar’ is a structure that houses the Ganesh idol. It resembles a temple or a throne (sinhasan)



‘Rangoli Sticker Patterns'
Rangoli is the traditional art of painting on the ground in front of the houses. It differs in every region in India. Rangoli Stickers are rangoli patterns printed in the form of stickers, these are fairly permanent as compared to traditional rangoli.



‘Lamp (Diya) Patterns'
Diwali is the festival of lights and lighting of lamps during diwali is considered auspicious.
Diyas are typically made of clay with ghee or oil used as the fuel and cotton wool as the wick.



‘Lantern Patterns'
Ethnic paper lanterns are a must during Diwali. They come in
various shapes, colours and patterns.


Ganesh Festive Patterns
Rangoli Sticker Patterns
Festive Lamp Patterns
Festive Lantern Patterns

Pattern Explorations 1
Pattern Explorations 2
Pattern Explorations 3

* this exercise (partly reproduced here) on documentation, study and analysis of decorative patterns was done as part of a special project at IDC, IIT Bombay by Sheetal Alreja under the guidance of Professor Ravi Poovaiah

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