“4-hundred million Hindu ladies do some type of this type of artwork or ritual someday in the course of the yr,” stated Vijaya Nagarajan, the author of a book on the kolam and an affiliate professor of non secular research on the College of San Francisco.

Although I’d all the time observed in my family that the ritual was completed solely by the ladies of the family, I spotted by means of conversations with Ms. Nagarajan that it’s virtually universally carefully tied to feminine expertise. In conducting analysis for her e book, Ms. Nagarajan frolicked in Madurai, a metropolis in Tamil Nadu, the place she spoke with individuals whose gender expressions had been fluid. “They made the kolam once they awoke within the morning and felt like a girl,” she stated. “They might costume of their sari, put the jasmine flowers of their hair, braid their hair and make the kolam. It’s a sign of gender, even when the gender is fluid.”

In recent times, kolam artists have adopted the multicolor custom of the rangoli — although the change has been divisive, particularly at kolam competitions in India. “If the judges had been extra conventional, elder judges, the standard kolam was the most effective, most aesthetic,” Ms. Nagarajan instructed me. “But when they had been youthful ladies, they’d say the rangoli was higher, reflecting the fascination with coloration and altering notions of magnificence.”

Srividya Vallurupalli, 46, a software program engineer in Danville, Calif., skilled that shift firsthand. “When my mother was rising up, it was solely completed with white powder,” she stated. “In our era, the colours received added.”

As soon as handed down by means of generations of Indian ladies, sometimes from mom to daughter, the artwork of rangoli is now the topic of numerous tutorials on social media. Instagrammers resembling Kanchan Kauthale, 36, who lives in Maharashtra, publish step-by-step photographs of their rangoli creations. On TikTok, rangoli movies take the viewer from easy define to daring sample at a mesmerizing velocity; collectively, posts tagged #rangoli have greater than 840 million views.