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Diwali is a time for celebrating and spending time with your family and friends. This Diwali, gift them something you’ve cooked with love. To help you get started, we’ve compiled some delightful recipes for easy sweets and snacks to make this festive season even more special.
October marks the beginning of the festival season in India, and you can practically feel the excitement in the air. As the weather turns cooler, preparations for the grand festivities kick into gear.
It’s a time when markets are bustling with activity, homes receive fresh makeovers, and vibrant street-side stalls emerge overnight, offering everything from rangoli powders to fireworks.
Growing up, I fondly remember how the aroma of Diwali treats would waft from the kitchens in our neighborhood, signaling the arrival of this joyous occasion. Sweets are integral to Diwali celebrations, with some delicacies prepared exclusively for this festive season. Before we dive into some delightful recipes, let’s explore the essence of Diwali.
What is Diwali?
Diwali, derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepavali,’ literally translates to “rows of lighted lamps.”
The festival is observed to mark the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and also for health and prosperity throughout the year.
Traditionally, it marks the day when Indian merchants would close their previous year’s books and start anew, symbolizing a fresh financial start. It also aligns with the harvest of summer crops, making it a time for new beginnings in many aspects.
Spiritually, Diwali signifies the victory of knowledge over ignorance, with light symbolizing knowledge and consciousness.
Why is Diwali celebrated?
Many festivals are celebrated throughout India, but Diwali stands out as one of the most widely embraced. It’s a celebration not limited to Hindus; rather, it holds a special place in the hearts of Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists as well.
The reasons behind Diwali’s observance vary depending on one’s religion and region. For example, in northern India, it is believed that after defeating Ravana and reuniting with his beloved wife, Sita, Rama returned to his kingdom of Ayodhya on this auspicious day. His subjects welcomed the revered couple by lighting oil lamps.
In the southern and eastern regions of India, Diwali marks the triumphant defeat of the demon Narakasura at the hands of Lord Krishna and Satyabhama.
For Jains, Diwali symbolizes the day Mahavira achieved nirvana, a profound spiritual awakening. At the same time, Sikhs honor it as the day Guru Hargobind returned to Amritsar after being held captive in Gwalior.
Even Buddhists partake in Diwali festivities, commemorating the day when Emperor Ashoka embraced Buddhism.
A fascinating tidbit: Diwali transcends borders and cultures, celebrated worldwide by over a billion people.
When is it celebrated?
Diwali is a five-day festival that falls in the Hindu lunar month of Kartik, which typically spans from mid-October to mid-November.
The third day of Diwali, the most significant one, is observed on the no-moon night (Amavasya in Hindi) in the month of Kartik. As a result, the date changes annually.
How is it celebrated?
Growing up in India, the Diwali festival was an occasion of great joy and excitement. The preparations for the festival began weeks in advance, with every aspect of the household receiving special attention. The kitchens, in particular, were meticulously deep-cleaned, ensuring that every nook and cranny was spotless and ready for the festivities. Some even painted their walls with a fresh coat of paint!
New clothes and kitchen utensils found their way into our homes, bringing a sense of novelty and festivity. As the days drew closer to Diwali, our homes would be adorned with a breathtaking array of decorations, including thorans, fresh flowers, intricate rangolis, oil diyas, twinkling string lights, and colorful lanterns, creating an enchanting ambiance that was nothing short of magical.
Yet, the most heartwarming part of this time was the collective effort that went into preparing homemade sweets and savories just days before Diwali. It was a labor of love, with family members coming together to create these delicious treats, each recipe passed down through generations.
The celebrations are spread over five days, with each day having its own significance.
Day 1 – Dhanteras
The festivities kick off with Dhanteras, a day that beckons prosperity. “Dhan” signifies wealth, and “teras” marks the 13th day of Kartik.
Dhanteras is associated with a few fascinating Hindu mythological anecdotes –
- Lord Dhanvantri: On this day, Lord Dhanvantri, the deity of Ayurveda and Medicine, emerged out of the ocean carrying the sacred book on Ayurvedic wisdom in one hand and a pot of Amrit (the divine nectar of immortality) in the other. On Dhanteras, devotees seek his blessings for health and well-being.
- Goddess Lakshmi: Dhanteras also honors Goddess Lakshmi, symbolizing wealth and prosperity. To welcome Goddess Lakshmi, devotees clean homes, light diyas, and adorn entrances with colorful rangolis and decorative torans.
- Lord Yamaraj: An intriguing tale revolves around King Hima’s son, fated to die from a snakebite on the 4th day of marriage. His wife’s vigilance, storytelling, and lit diyas thwarted Yamaraj, sparing the young man’s life. As a gesture of gratitude and to pray for the long lives of their family, people offer earthen diyas to Lord Yamaraj, and this day is also known as Yamadeepdaan.
A notable tradition of Dhanteras is the purchase of metal items, as it is widely believed that acquiring precious metals brings good fortune. Depending on their budget, people usually opt for gold jewelry, silver ornaments, or metal utensils.
Additionally, individuals in various professions show reverence by worshiping their primary source of income. Shopkeepers venerate their places of work, while farmers adorn and worship their cattle.
Reference: History and significance of Dhanteras
Day 2 – Choti Diwali
Choti Diwali, also known as Narak Chaturdasi or Kali Chaudas, holds a profound significance. “Naraka” refers to hell, and “Chaturdasi” denotes the 14th day.
It’s believed that on this day, Narakasura, a dreaded demon who terrorized humanity, met his end. Some attribute his defeat to Lord Krishna, while others credit Goddess Kali.
This day is celebrated by thorough house cleaning and decluttering, followed by decorating the house with flowers and rangolis. Additionally, people offer prayers for the souls of their departed ancestors by lighting oil lamps.
Day 3 – Lakshmi pooja / Diwali day
The third day, marked by the no-moon night or Amavasaya, takes center stage as the most important day in the five-day celebration.
It begins with people rising early, applying oil before showering, donning new clothes, and offering prayers at home or in a temple.
It is a day dedicated to the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to bestow wealth and prosperity. As a part of the tradition, doors and windows are kept open to welcome the goddess into homes. Family members gather to enjoy delicious meals and sweets and play card games.
Diwali dinner party menu and ideas
Planning to throw a party for Diwali? Get recipes, sample menus, ideas for a potluck, and loads of tips/tricks to make your next party a huge success! Check out this post on Indian dinner party menu ideas.
Day 4 – Annakoot or padeeva
Day four brings its unique flavor, with different communities celebrating it in diverse ways. Some dedicate this day to celebrating the bond between spouses, while others see it as a day of rest, symbolized by the preparation of khichadi, a comforting dish of rice and lentils. In certain regions, kite flying takes the spotlight.
Those who follow the Vaishnav traditions celebrate it as the day Krishna picked up the mountain Govardhan to save the citizens of Mathura from Indra’s wrath, the God of thunder and rain. They express their gratitude by preparing fifty-six different dishes and offering them to Krishna as thanks for saving mankind.
That’s why the fourth day is known as annakoot, meaning “mountain of food,” metaphorically representing Govardhan mountain.
Day 5 – Bhai Duj
The festival concludes with a celebration of sibling love, known as Bhai Duj, Yama Dwitiya, or Bhai Tika.
It is believed that on this day, Yama (Lord of Death) visited his sister Yamuna and granted her a boon. In tribute to this cherished tradition, brothers visit their married sisters’ homes, bearing gifts and sweet treats, while sisters offer heartfelt prayers for their brothers’ health and longevity.
In a nutshell, Diwali is a celebration of light, love, and togetherness. It’s a time when families and friends come together to create cherished memories and share the warmth of homemade delights.
Scroll down as we explore some wonderful Diwali recipes, perfect for adding a touch of homemade love to your celebrations!
TIPS TO DECORATE YOUR HOUSE
Diwali Decor Ideas
Looking to infuse your home with ethnic décor this Diwali? Dive into this post for inspiration and ideas to usher in the festivities in style!
Easy Diwali sweet and snack recipes
Here’s the order I follow when preparing the recipes: I begin with the savory dishes, then move on to making laddoos, and finally, I prepare the milk-based sweets, as they tend to have a shorter shelf-life.
Discover the irresistible charm of Shankarpali, a Diwali favorite that you can prepare in just half an hour. Picture golden, crunchy bites with a hint of sweetness, perfect for snacking.
Say goodbye to store-bought chivdas and embrace the homemade goodness of Poha Chivda this Diwali! In just 10 minutes, you can whip up this crunchy and flavorful snack that’s perfect for the festival and doubles as a fantastic after-school treat. Watch as simple ingredients transform into a mouthwatering snack, leaving everyone craving more. It’s a Diwali and everyday winner!
These diamond-shaped delights are a work of art. They look exquisite and taste just as delicious as the ones you find in stores. Elevate your Diwali celebrations with these delectable sweets.
Rava ladoo or Sooji ladoo is a popular Indian sweet made with semolina, sugar, and ghee. This recipe will teach you how to make perfectly crumbly laddoos in no time!
Godi laddoo (wheat laddoo)
In just 30 minutes, make delectable whole wheat ladoos that are delicious and nutritious, perfect for those seeking a healthier sweet option.
Experience the magic of traditional kalakand in a fraction of the time. With ricotta cheese and a microwave, you’ll have a delightful sweet treat in less than 30 minutes.
Mango lovers, rejoice! This microwave recipe captures the essence of mangoes in a kalakand that’s ready to savor within 30 minutes.
Gulab Jamun, a beloved Indian dessert, holds a special place in the hearts of many. These delectable, round sweets are crafted by deep-frying milk-solid balls to golden perfection. Once fried, they are soaked into a flavored sugar syrup. This syrup imparts Gulab Jamun with its distinctive sweetness and a melt-in-the-mouth texture that’s absolutely irresistible. Try it today!
Unlock the secrets of crafting soft, melt-in-your-mouth Mysore Pak, a South Indian delicacy. The result is a delectable treat that’s hard to resist.
For chocolate enthusiasts, this recipe is a dream come true. With just a handful of ingredients and 10 minutes of effort, you can have a homemade chocolate barfi ready in no time.
Craving something sweet and satisfying? Try coconut barfi – a quick dessert fix that combines simplicity with deliciousness.
Experience the creamy and flavorful magic of Indian rice pudding with an Instant Pot. Say goodbye to long hours in the kitchen and hello to a quick and satisfying dessert.
Jalebi, a classic Indian treat, is not just a dessert; it’s an experience. Fry it to golden perfection, soak it in fragrant sugar syrup, and enjoy it as a delightful breakfast or a decadent dessert.
Moong dal halwa
Dive into the addictive world of North Indian desserts with this almost hands-off Instant Pot recipe. It’s a warm, comforting treat that’s perfect for winter evenings.
Instant Shahi Rabri
Skip the laborious stovetop method and embrace instant gratification. In a mere 15 minutes, savor the richness of Shahi Rabri or Rabdi, a dessert fit for royalty.
Discover a hands-off approach to creating the beloved carrot pudding (gajar halwa) with an Instant Pot. The result is a decadent, aromatic dessert that’s hard to resist.
Looking for more recipes for sweets?
Check out this extensive collection of 45+ Indian sweets and desserts!
Recipe collection of 45+
Looking to celebrate a special occasion with Indian sweets? Check out this extensive list of 45+ easy dessert recipes from India. They are perfect for dinner parties, festivals, or days when you crave something sweet.
This recipe was originally published on Nov 11, 2020 and the text was updated on Oct 25, 2023.