The Dharmic Kendra at Prashad Nagar in Georgetown came alive with intricate rangolis all depicting a different theme. The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s annual rangoli competition is a time when students display their creative side and compete for the top prize and bragging rights.Marian Academy’s winning rangoliThis year, along with bragging rights also came a brand new computer for the winning school. That coveted prize went to Marian Academy, whose rangoli resonated well with the judges.Rangoli is an art form, originating in the Indian subcontinent, in which patterns are created on the floor or the ground using materials such as coloured rice, dry flour, coloured sand or flower petals. It is usually made during Diwali or Tihar, Onam, Pongal and other Hindu festivals in India.Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa poses with the Cacique Accounting College teamDesigns are passed from one generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive.The word rangoli is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘rangavalli’ which means colour. The purpose of rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck.Gracing the occasion was Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa, who used the opportunity to extend his Diwali wishes as well as commit to further collaboration between the Sabha and his country.The winning team receiving their prize from Attorney-at-Law Ganesh Hira“This has been a mini-exhibition of Indian culture. A mini exposition of the interest of Guyana and its youth in this amazing tradition of rangoli. Diwali is the festival of lights as you know and I was simply amazed when I was passing through one of this rangoli. A boy was explaining to the judges the significance of his team’s rangoli and especially Maha Lakshmi,” he noted.It was all good luck for Marian Academy when their team of creatives was adjudged the winners of the competition. Rounding off the top five schools were Mae’s School, St Roses High, Bishops’ High and Cacique Accounting College.Students completing their rangoliRegion SixOver in the ancient county, Cumberland Primary dethroned Gangarram Primary in the Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) rangoli competition for primary schools held on Thursday. The event was organised by the Department of Education and saw defending champions Gangarram, as well as Betsy Ground, Sheet Anchor, Bohemia, Cumberland and Edinburg Primary participating.Among the things focused on was the ability to describe the rangoli and to interrupt it, the use of colours and aesthetics skills.Secretary of the East Berbice Pranit of the Guyana Dharmic Sabha, Omesh Seepersaud explained that even though the event is not on the Department of Education’s calendar of activities, it was initiated by the Guyana Dharmic Sabha.It is the second year that the event has included primary schools in the region.“Because Gangarram Primary won last year they are the hosts this year. We are happy that Gangarram Primary would have taken the initiative to ask the Gangarram Vishnu Mandir to host the competition got them. We initiated this event with the aim of propagating and sustaining our art and our culture. We have been doing this for a number of years but it is not only the second year that we have introduced it to primary schools,” Seepersaud said.In the end, Cumberland Primary emerged as the winner with Gangarram Primary in second and Bohemia Primary, third.According to the Times of India, Rangoli may have originated in India even before the origin of the Hindu epics, because rangoli is mentioned in the epics. Today, rangolis are made on floors and walls for decorating houses during festivals and other joyous occasions like marriages.The religious significance is that gods are attracted to rangoli and hence while inviting a god into a house, the house should be decorated with rangoli.