The story behind festivals

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on November 05, 2021

It’s festival season in India, and this week’s quiz is all about festivals from around the world

1. Which Indian festival originated in 1812, when Mughal ruler Akbar Shah’s consort Mumtaz Mahal Begum went to Mehrauli to redeem a vow and the town celebrated for a week with her? The festival was revived in 1962 by Jawaharlal Nehru.

2. Carnatic musical legend Bangalore Nagarathnamma is regarded as the prime mover behind the establishment of which annual festival at Thiruvaiyaru?

3. Which festival, once attracting customers from around Asia, is traditionally held in the months of November and December at a town at the confluence of the Ganga and Gandak rivers?

4. Since 1950, which international festival starts with a 12 gun salute followed by the tapping of a keg of beer by the mayor of the host city, who then offers the first litre of beer to the President of the state?

5. The 50th birthday celebrations of 770 KOB radio station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sparked off which annual festival in the city which can be admired from scores of miles away?

6. Mutant vehicles are a big attraction of which highly regarded festival originally held in San Francisco which has moved to Black Rock city in Nevada since 1991?

7. Which colour would you associate with an annual festival held on March 17 widely celebrated in the US, the UK, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand besides the country in which it originates?

8. What reason is traditionally offered for ‘punyamati’ or the soil from the door of a brothel always being a part of a Durga Puja idol in Bengal?

9. SXSW is the name commonly used to describe the largest musical festival in the world, featuring thousands of acts, annually held in Austin, Texas. What is the actual name of the festival?

10. Which festival started in 1938 after Mussolini and Adolf Hitler’s interference ensured that the classic French pacifist film La Grande Illusion did not win an award at the Venice film festival, which instead honoured Olympia, a German documentary about the 1936 Berlin Olympics?


1. Phool Walon Ka Sair, where flowers are offered both at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Qutubuddin Kaki and the Devi Jogmaya Mandir.

2. The Tyagaraja Aradhana festival, celebrating the singer Tyagaraja

3. The Sonepur Cattle Fair in Bihar, the largest cattle fair in Asia where dogs, horses, cattle, camels and even elephants were traditionally sold

4. The Oktoberfest in Munich

5. The Balloon Fiesta, the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and a spectacular sight

6. The Burning Man Festival

7. Green. St Patrick’s Day, celebrated on his death anniversary in Ireland and elsewhere. The shamrock plant is also traditionally worn

8. According to custom, when a man enters a brothel, he leaves all his goodness at the door, and therefore the space in front of a brothel is the most sanctified place

9. South by Southwest, begun in 1987

10. The Cannes Film Festival

Published on November 05, 2021

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