Thursday, 4 November 2010


“Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light” - Maurice Freehill

At work today, an Indian colleague mentioned that it is the time of Diwali (or Deepavali), a significant Hindu festival. This is one of the highlights of the Hindu year and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and much happiness in India, but also by Indians living abroad. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third day is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or “Festival of Lights”. Different coloured fireworks of all varieties are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas (clay oil lamps) and candles all around their house. They perform Laxmi Puja (a special prayer) in the evening and seek divine blessings of Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Laxmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm.

The festival of Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts. People present diwali gifts to all near and dear ones. The date of Diwali changes every year as the day is calculated according to the position of the moon. According to Hindu reckoning, the date of Diwali falls on 15th day of the dark fortnight in the auspicious Hindu month of Kartik or the month of October/November in the Gregorian calendar. This year the third day of Diwali day falls on the “amavasya” or the night of the new moon, which is tonight.

Here are some Indian sweets to make especially for Diwali!



1/2 kg maida (finely milled wheat flour)
750 grams sugar
500 mL milk
1 cup grated coconut
6 bananas
100 grams chopped dried fruits
1/2 teaspoonful ground cardamon
1 litre vegetable oil

Boil the milk and stir it till it becomes thick. Then cool it.
In the milk add maida, sugar, chopped dried fruits , coconut and cardamon.
Stir it till it becomes a paste.
Mash the banana into a paste and add it into the mixture.
Heat oil in a pan. Make round shaped balls of the paste.
Fry the balls till they are golden brown.

Wheat Laddu

1 cup wheat Flour
1/4 cup Gram Flour (flour made from ground chick peas)
1.5 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit, almonds, raisins, cashews, etc
1 cup Ghee (clarified butter)

Heat the ghee
Put both types of flours in the hot ghee
When roasted add the coconut and chopped fruit and nuts in the mixture
Add the icing sugar and stir thoroughly
Take off from the heat quickly and roll into small balls
You may roll in toasted coconut flakes if you like.

Besan ki Barfi

1 kg Gram flour (chick pea flour)
1 kg sugar
500 mL water
1 kg ghee (clarified butter)
For garnishing: Pistachios, Almonds


Fry the Gram flour in ghee on low flame for about 30 minutes till it becomes golden and ghee separates
Mix sugar and water into a syrup
Add this syrup to the Gram four and ghee and mix well
Pour this mixture into a greased tray
When it cools cut into cubes and garnish with pistachios and almonds.

Here is Aishwarya Rai from the film Devdas with a diya, celebrating Diwali.


  1. I enjoyed your take on Divali very much and I'm glad you included some of the food delights of the Festival of Lights, good over evil, light over dark.

    I have just come home from touring one of the areas of the country where the lighting of the deyas is legendary in this country. Not just deyas - all types of lights - around Mother Lakshmi; bamboo with deyas - I haven't yet downloaded the photos.

    I have posted on Divali in in Trinidad.

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