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A Guide to Diwali Sweets


Sweets play a big role in the Diwali celebrations. Here is a guide to some of the traditional sweets that are made during this festival.


The festival of Diwali is associated with fireworks, decorations, and lights. However, another important part of the celebrations deals with mithai or sweets. Traditionally, around this time, the entire household would get together and prepare an array of mouth-watering sweets for the family members. These sweets would be distributed to the neighbours as well as the people who came to visit. Various kinds of mithai are also offered to the goddess Lakshmi, during the Diwali puja.

Today, the scenario is slightly different. People are busy with their work and house chores, which does not leave them much time to prepare sweets. This is where the sweet shops have stepped in. Almost all of them offer Diwali sweets at reasonable rates. In addition, shops also keep 'gift boxes'. These are brightly wrapped boxes containing sweets, which can be used for gifting purposes. This has taken sweets beyond the traditional purpose of self-consumption and into the realm of gift giving as well.


Diwali Sweets

Diwali is a time of feasting. There is a wide range of sweets that are popular among both adults and children. Initially, most of the sweets were restricted to a particular region. Now, they are available all over the country.

Motichoor laddu: The 'laddu' or 'laddoo' is an eternal favourite in all celebrations. There are many different types of laddus, made of many different ingredients. The motichoor laddu is native to the state of Bihar. It is made of sweetened gram flour and whole almonds. The gram flour is in the form of flakes, which are mixed with the almonds and hand rolled into small spheres. The laddu is then fried in ghee (clarified butter) until it is a golden colour.

Jalebi: The jalebi is believed to have originated in Punjab. A batter of refined flour and curd is prepared first and sugar syrup is mixed with it. The batter is then deep fried in oil to give the jalebi its crunchy taste. The jalebi has no fixed shape but usually resembles a collection of winding, concentric circles. The jalebi is often bright orange in colour though sometimes it is white. It can be eaten hot or cold. In southern India, the jalebi is called 'jangiri'.

Kaju katli: This is another popular Diwali sweet. It is prepared by cooking a mixture of cashew paste, sugar, and cardamom powder in ghee. The cooked ingredients are then spread out on a greased plate. An edible silver foil is spread over the sweet and it is cut into distinctive diamond shapes. Another variant of this sweet is the kaju pista roll. It consists of a mixture of cashew and pistachios, in the shape of a roll, covered with edible silver foil.

Peda: Pedas are usually the sweets offered to God and then distributed to people as 'prashad' or 'prasad'. They are prepared by mixing khoya and sugar. Khoya is the name given to the substance obtained when milk has been cooked till it assumes a solid consistency. For garnishing, pistachios, cardamom seeds or cashew nuts may be used. Pedas vary greatly in size, shape, and colour. They may be round or rectangular and colour varies between shades of white, yellow, and brown.

Barfi: Like pedas, barfis too are prepared using condensed milk and sugar. Sometimes, gram flour may be added to the ingredients. Barfis are then flavoured depending on the desired result. Flavouring agents include saffron (kesar), cashew, pistachio, mango, rose water, almond, chocolate, etc. Barfis are usually rectangular but can also be round or flattened.

Rasmalai: Rasmalai or 'ras malai' has its roots in the eastern state of West Bengal. It is prepared by dipping partially flattened balls of sweetened cottage cheese in creamy, sweet milk. The milk may be additionally flavoured with saffron, rose water, or pistachios.


Diwali is a time when you simply should not think of dieting. With the sheer variety of sweets available, your taste buds are sure to think they are in heaven.


Do you prepare sweets in your home for Diwali? Which is your favourite Diwali sweet? What do you think of giving sweets as gifts? To share your tips, views, and experiences, click here.


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