Even if you don’t exactly know what Holi is, no doubt you’ve seen the pictures: People on the streets throwing powdered pigment in bright colors at each other and having a grand old time of it. But what do you actually know about the Holi festival? To find out, take the following quiz. The answers are given directly after the quiz, so no peeking!
To take the quiz, decide whether the following statements are true or false. Here goes:
- Known as the Festival of Colors, Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated in India.
- The Holi festival is always celebrated in the beginning of March.
- The Holi festival is held to honor the Hindu god Ganesha.
- During Holi, people throw colored powder, spray people with water guns and pelt them with water balloons. Everyone is fair game.
- Traditional drinks during Holi sometimes contain bhang (cocaine).
- Holi is not all frolic, fun, and rainbows. The festival also has a darker and/or more problematic side.
- Bollywood stars love Holi and many films have scenes and songs from the festival.
Before moving on to the answers, watch this video about Holi (and yes, it will give you some information to help you out on the quiz so you’ll get a perfect score and impress your friends.)
Ok, here are the answers.
Known as the Festival of Colors, Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated in India.
Number one was a bit of trick statement. Holi is a Hindu festival known as the festival of colors as well as the festival of love. Although it is celebrated all over India, Holi is also celebrated in Nepal as well as many places in the Indian diaspora, including Europe, Africa, North America, Latin America and other places in Asia, such as Fiji. Pakistani Hindus also celebrate Holi and, last year for the first time, Pakistan’s parliament officially recognized both Holi and Diwali as official public holidays for Hindus as well as Easter for Christians. This decision has met with controversy, with some Pakistanis applauding the decision and others expressing concerns that declaring Holi a public holiday will encourage Pakistani children to acknowledge a Hindu festival.
The Holi festival is always celebrated in the beginning of March.
If you watched the video, you might have decided this statement is true. However, similar to Easter, the month Holi is celebrated can change from year to year. The festival begins on Purnima (full Moon day) in the month of Phalgun in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar. According to our calendar, this day falls each year sometime between the end of February to mid-March. In 2017, Holi starts on Monday, March 13.
The Holi festival is celebrated in honor of the Hindu God Ganesha.
This one is false. Traditionally, Holi represents the triumph of good over evil and is associated with the god Vishnu and his avatar Krishna, and Holika bonfires are still burned during the festival in honor of this legend. However, Holi also represents the beginning of spring and is a joyful holiday where people laugh, play and are encouraged to forgive and forget.
During Holi, people throw colored powder, spray people with water guns and pelt them with water balloons. Everyone is fair game.
Absolutely. Here’s another video showing some serious Holi battles between the boys and the gals.
Traditional drinks during Holi sometimes contain bhang (cocaine).
This one is also partly true. Made with milk, spices, almonds and the potent ingredient bhang, drinks do indeed lend an intoxicating bang to Holi festivities, but they contain cannabis (bhang), not cocaine. For those of you who want to fly high in honor of Holi this year, here’s a recipe for a bhang drink.
Holi is not all frolic, fun, and rainbows. The festival also has a darker and/or more problematic side to it.
This one is true. Although Holi makes for a great, colorful party, the festival does have some less fun aspects. One controversy is the environmental impact of the traditional Holika bonfires. Environmentalists estimate around 30,000 bonfires are lit each year during Holi, which contributes to deforestation. The heavy metal-based pigments from the powder colors also temporarily pollute wastewater, and it apparently takes up to five days for the water quality to return to pre-festival levels. Some activists have also claimed Holi both encourages and allows men to sexually harass women on the streets.
Bollywood stars love Holi and many films have scenes and songs from the festival.
And how! Here’s a video with the “Best Bollywood Holi songs” which is almost an hour long.
Happy Holi everyone!
For a list of places around the world where you can celebrate this festival, click here. How do you plan to celebrate this year?
[Featured Image by Rafiq Maqbool/AP Images]