Do you know that medieval and ancient literature is studded with various kinds of riddles? The purpose of riddles was to pass on the culture and create curiosity in the text. Moreover, it was also a mode of fun and enjoyment as there was no advancement. So, things used to be simple and easy. To put it in short words, this means to compose a foundation of the knowledge by the scholar by using the words having hidden double meanings. Sounds interesting Nah!
History of riddles
Simply the single word riddles, nowadays, encompasses a wide variety of puzzles. But are you aware of how long human beings have had it? Where does its concept originate from? Hold on, and we have come up with the answers to all such queries.
When we turn the pages of history to look back at the development of the concept of riddles from its beginning to the present day, nothing is much clear. No one exactly knows when this concept came into being and who was to present this idea. But, the very first riddle was recorded back in 1650 BC. The first riddle was from Rhind’s Mathematical Papyrus.
So, riddles seem to be an invention of the 17th century. I know! It is strange for many…
Meaning of riddles
A riddle can be a:
They have some unveiled or double meanings that you have to put forth to solve them. You will surely enjoy such exciting activities. Give it a try!
Origin of the riddles
Riddle word describes a question, statement, or phrase which needs a concrete answer to explore from the given text.
The word ‘riddle’ shares its origin with the word ‘read.’ Interestingly, it is a word ræ̅dan with an origin from Old English. Its meaning is to guess or interpret. Besides the Old English, the word also had some counterparts and various other Indo-European languages like Dutch and German.
Well, the fact is simple; whatever is the language, it always seems to revolve around the single meaning of ‘to interpret the symbols or to understand.’
But when we talk about the Hindi language, the word riddle is locally known as ‘पहेलियाँ‘. This word is pronounced as ‘Paheliyan’ or ‘Paheliyon’ in Hindi. In this language, too, the riddles or Paheliyan in Hindi is the same thing. It is all about understanding or exploring answers to double-meaning text.
Kinds of riddles in India
Mainly, the Indian riddles are categorized into two main kinds. For you to give an in-depth knowledge about them, these kinds are explained below:
This category of riddles includes those problems which are commonly expressed in allegorical or metaphorical language. Such kinds of riddles require ingenuity and a deep process of thinking to find the concrete answers out.
The riddles falling in this category include such questions that highly rely on punning in either the answer or the question for the effects.
Roles that riddles play in Indian society
Paheliyon has been proved as a fantastic activity to enjoy family time from the past. People always enjoy playing such short and delightful games with both family and friends. You can spend good quality time enjoying memorable moments. It will be a hell of fun.
Riddles have successfully stood the tests and ups and downs of time. Besides only enjoyment, riddles are among the best and popular mediums for sharpening mental ability or spending free time.
Types of Riddles
As we all know that a lot of things change from time to time. The same is in the case of Paheliyan, Riddles. Nowadays, next to poetic ones, there are various kinds of letter-based or word-based riddles. But, the kind of riddles that are more common in India include:
A very young type of Indian riddles is crosswords. In this riddle, both the questions and their answers are arranged in grids. The answer in such Paheliyan crosses each other. That is why we call it a crossword riddle.
Additionally, in 1913, the very first crossword puzzle was created by a person named Arthur Wynne in the New York World. Hence, it was a period of 100 years when the crossword riddles started their triumphant toward advancement.
By the 1920s and 1930s, crossword Paheliyan became more and more popular. They were commercialized so much that the opponents spoke of an epidemic. But. the crossword riddles made it through the years and still exist in various forms and shapes to this day.
One of the shapes and forms of the crossword riddles is the so-called cryptic crossword. This is particularly famous in North America. These crosswords make use of cryptic clues. This kind of clue does not reveal the actual question or statement hidden in them at first sight.
Well, you need to think outside the box to decode the hint with all the hidden meanings.
- Riddles as Prose or Poems
The riddles (Paheliyan or Paheliyon) that fall in the category of prose and poems are basic descriptions, questions, and the enigmatic statements that one person poses to an individual or group to explore the concrete answer.
This category of riddles includes those problems which are commonly expressed in allegorical or metaphorical language. Such poem kind of riddles require ingenuity and a deep process of thinking to find the concrete answers out.
However, such riddles properly rely on the imagery for its effects; often quite poetic or prose based
Besides the prose-based or poetic riddles, anagrams are also very common Indian riddles. These are small Paheliyan or Paheliyon that consist of a single word but can extend to a sentence. As the letters of anagrams can be arranged to form a new sentence or a word, they possess a second meaning in them.
Anagram riddles are a source of fun with comprehensible input with vocabulary building. Student, in such riddles, uses various clues to explore two words that can fit the clues and are also the anagrams of each other.
Indeed, there exist many other types of riddles nowadays. We have discussed some of the letter-based and word-based variations of Indian riddles here.