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Monday, 06 November 2023 10:05

Why Sweets Hold a Special Place in Indian Festivals

The Hindu festival of Diwali is coming up this weekend, Globe Aware volunteers can join in the celebrations by learning more about the sweet treats that go along with it!


A Spoonful of Culture: Why Sweets Hold a Special Place in Indian Festivals

By Slurrp Desk
Apr 15, 2023

In India, several states have their own distinctive sweets, made with ingredients and preparation techniques that are widely accessible. Using new mixtures while retaining the original base ingredients, modern Indian sweets are transformed. These desserts are now consumed by millions of people all over the world.

Since the beginning of time, Indian confections have had a long and rich history. Earlier accounts mention Indians making sweet foods with honey, fruits, or dry fruits. Delicious confections for the holiday season were later made using milk and sugar. Both kings and commoners alike ate a lot of sweets and pastries, and ever since, they have been an essential element of Indian culture.

In India, several states have their own distinctive sweets, made with ingredients and preparation techniques that are widely accessible. Using new mixtures while retaining the original base ingredients, modern Indian sweets are transformed. These desserts are now consumed by millions of people all over the world.

Every Indian festival centres its revelry around a sweet. Diwali, Holi, Baisakhi, Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, and Dussehra are just a few of the many holidays that are enthusiastically observed throughout India. Throughout these celebrations, a lot of sweets are consumed and distributed.

Every treat stands for a custom. These dishes, which range from the delicious Rasgula to the melt-in-your-mouth Gulab Jamun, lend a sweet touch to the celebration and unite people. Families trade candy boxes as a sign of happiness and affection during Diwali. Similar to this, people indulge in a variety of sweets during Holi, the festival of colours, including Jalebi, Gulab Jamun, and Burfi.

But have you wondered why sweets are such an integral part of Indian festivals and celebrations?

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Sweets have always been an integral part of Indian culture, and no celebration is complete without them. Whether it's a birthday, wedding, or religious festival, sweets are a must-have in any Indian household. There are several reasons why sweets are so important in Indian festivals and celebrations.

Firstly, sweets have a cultural significance in India. They are a symbol of happiness and good fortune, and people believe that offering sweets to others brings good luck and prosperity. Therefore, they are an essential part of every religious and social occasion. For example, during Diwali, the festival of lights, sweets like laddoos, barfis, and gulab jamuns are made in every household and exchanged with friends and family.

Secondly, sweets have a spiritual significance in Indian culture. In Hinduism, sweets are considered as an offering to the Gods and Goddesses during religious ceremonies and festivals. It is believed that the sweet taste of the offering pleases the deities and brings blessings to the devotees. The Prasad or the offering that is distributed among the devotees is usually a sweet, such as laddoos, pedas, or halwa.

Thirdly, sweets play a crucial role in Indian hospitality. Offering sweets to guests is a way of showing hospitality and respect. Whenever guests visit an Indian household, they are welcomed with a sweet dish, such as rasgulla, jalebi, or kheer. It is believed that offering sweets to guests makes them feel happy and welcome, and it strengthens the bond between the host and the guest.

Lastly, sweets are an essential part of Indian cuisine, and no meal is complete without a dessert. Indian sweets are diverse and range from simple to complex recipes. They are made from a variety of ingredients, such as milk, sugar, ghee, flour, and nuts. Some of the popular Indian sweets include rasgulla, gulab jamun, laddoo, barfi, jalebi, peda, and halwa.

In conclusion, sweets hold immense cultural, spiritual, and social significance in Indian society. They are an essential part of every festival, ceremony, and social gathering. Whether it's a small get-together or a grand celebration, sweets play a crucial role in bringing people together and spreading happiness.

Top Indian Sweets That Are Enjoyed During Festivals

Here are some of the top Indian sweets that are enjoyed during festivals:

  • Ladoo: Ladoo is a round-shaped sweet made with flour, sugar, and ghee. It comes in various types, including besan ladoo, motichoor ladoo, and coconut ladoo. Ladoo is a popular choice during Diwali, Navratri, and Ganesh Chaturthi.
  • Barfi: Barfi is a dense and fudge-like sweet made with milk, sugar, and ghee. It comes in many varieties, such as kaju barfi, pista barfi, and besan barfi. Barfi is a must-have during Holi and Diwali.
  • Gulab Jamun: Gulab Jamun is a soft and spongy ball-shaped sweet made with milk powder, sugar, and cardamom powder. It is soaked in sugar syrup and has a rich and indulgent taste. Gulab Jamun is a favourite dessert during Eid, Diwali, and weddings.
  • Rasgulla: Rasgulla is a round-shaped and spongy sweet made with chenna (paneer) and sugar syrup. It has a soft and juicy texture and is a popular dessert during Durga Puja and Diwali.
  • Jalebi: Jalebi is a crispy and syrupy sweet made with maida (all-purpose flour), sugar, and saffron. It is usually served warmly and is a popular breakfast item during festivals like Diwali and Holi.
  • Pedha: Pedha is a soft and creamy sweet made with khoya (milk solids), sugar, and cardamom powder. It has a rich and melt-in-your-mouth texture and is often served during Diwali and weddings.
  • Kheer: Kheer is a traditional Indian rice pudding made with milk, rice, sugar, and saffron. It is garnished with nuts and raisins and is a popular dessert during weddings and religious festivities.
  • Modak: Modak is a steamed dumpling made with rice flour, jaggery, and grated coconut. It is usually offered as prasad (offering) during Ganesh Chaturthi and is a favourite among Lord Ganesha's devotees.

Additional Info

  • Source: Slurrp
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