Poo Kolam

Poo Kolam 8th September 2022 Dr Beena

Hello, everyone; today is Onam, the harvest festival for Malayalees😊😊😊. It is not a well-known festival like other Indian festivals, but for us, it is a special occasion. I wish to reveal a secret here; I nearly forgot until one of my young friends reminded me that he expected an “Onam appropriate” paintingπŸ™„πŸ™„. I perused many Onam pictures on you-tube and posts from friends.

One of my friends from Cochin used to send me photos of “poo kolam” daily. That gave me some ideas. Coincidently, in my art class, I was learning to draw mandalas. Hence, I thought, why don’t I paint a “poo kolam”πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

A little bit about the history of “poo kolam”. It began in Tamil Nadu about 600 years ago, when women of the house would draw patterns in the entrance to the front door. The women did the designs at dawn with rice flour with mathematical precision😊😎. Yeap, the six concepts of mathematics are observed in this sacred ritual. Isn’t that amazing? Every curve or straight line needed a vertex point. The actual concept of these designs will be lost soon after it is created, as the birds or ants may pick on them, people will walk past, or the wind or rain will wash off the design. Every day, a new design will be created based on many factors, including the mood of the createrπŸ˜„πŸ˜‰. It is almost like a renewal of visual performance in which tradition (continuity) and change (innovation) exist simultaneously.

I hope my watercolour Onam greeting based on the principle of mandala drawing fulfilled the concept of “poo kolam”. For all my Malayalee friends, my gals and I wish you Happy OnamπŸ™πŸ™πŸ˜ŠπŸΆπŸΆπŸΆ.

11 thoughts on “Poo Kolam

  1. Traditionally this floral arrangement flags off the beginning of Kerala’s harvest festival of ONAM.
    The floral patterns are so attractive and for such creations your imaginations is the limit.
    In Beena’s water color creation I can see the spark of creativity in all its glory.
    Well done.

    1. Hi Itty, there us so much to tradition that is getting lost with globalisation. This simple floral arrangement has such a long history and I learnt about it since I painted one. Its good that I learn as I paint. Thanks for your encouragemt.


  2. Ellarkum Onam Aashamsagal ! perhaps next year you can consider creating a live kolaam outside your house to celebrate!

    1. Hi Leong

      Thanks for the timely reminder to paint something for Onam. For a Chinese, you have done well to post the right Onam greetings:))even I have forgotten. Well if I can truly do a physical poo kolam, its a great achievmemt. I may take up.ur challenge;):)

  3. That’s beautiful. The precision must be so challenging. To think that ordinary women of the house can overcome this. How did you do it?

    1. Hi Nyuk

      I used the old compass and ruler to get the geometry:). I don’t have those fine skills of those women who have exemplary talent to draw kolams based on astronomy, events, including one to signify death. So the kolam has lots of meaning. I suppose mine was for the Onam festival which is rather colourful without the firecrackers:):).

  4. Such a vibrant poo kolam. Always enjoyed your beautiful paintings and story that go with them. Hope this tradition does not die off.

  5. I can see the mood of the creator here: colourful vibrant and yet peaceful! I love colours and its natural to show the love for colors in many ways. Hope to see another unique Onam art work next year.

  6. Lovely pookalam Dr Beena
    Very informative story to ,match, it is said a good pookalam should have a well defined ‘eye’at the centre, symmetrical, usually circular, with well defined edges, all these are there in your pookalam
    I specifically liked the the dual tone effect on the petals
    About Mandala painting/drawings i can’t comment except that you have used the Ying yang pattern to avantage

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