Diwali is the festival of Laxmi, the Goddess of prosperity and wealth. It is believed that Goddess Laxmi visits everyone during Diwali and brings peace and prosperity to all. On the night of Diwali Lakshmi-Pujan is performed in the evenings. A traditional Pujan is performed after sunset in every home.
Five pieces of ghee diyas (lamps) are lit in front of the deities, naivedya of traditional sweets are offered to the Goddess and devotional songs are sung in praise of Goddess Laxmi. After Deepawali Puja people light diyas (lamps) in their homes, its relevance being bringing light to every darkness of the world. Mithai form a significant part of the Lakshmi and Ganesh pooja conducted on Diwali. The Gods are offered different types of Mithai as `prashaad' or `naivedyam', which is then distributed among family members and friends.
Diwali is synonymous with 'mithai' or sweets. Diwali is also the time for family reunions, lighted diyas, colourful rangoli, vibrant apparels, and mouth-watering sweets - all symbolic of the happy occasion. With the spirit of Diwali permeating the society, traditional households gear up for the special preparation of Sweets and Delicacies. However, this scenario is slowly fading away with the advent of "gift packages" offered by all popular sweet shops and households making sweets not just for self-consumption but for exchanges and gifting as well.
A range of special sweets/mithai include cashew sweets like kaju kalinga, kaju katli, kaju anaar. Other specialties include daal, ghee, bombay peda, boondi, kashmiri peda, sangam, green cream fruit burfi, kesari and mango pedas.
Moti Choor Ladoo: The most famous of all Indian sweets. Round in shape, made of besan and consisting of cardamom, pistaschio, and a touch of saffron.
Jalebi: Another well renowned Indian mithai. Jalebis are made of sugar and besan (gram four).
Kajukatli: A soft diamond shaped sweet made from freshly ground cashews.
Kaju-Pista Rolls: A twist of cashew and pistachio.
Peda: A special mithai recipe preparation from Khoa flour. Agra pedas are delicious.
Barfi: All special occasions warrant this. Quadrangular shaped sweets made of whole milk and sugar, garnished with cardamom and pistachios.
Gulab Jamun: A tasty circular mithai that is known by all. On the top of everyone's list. Comes in a sugary syrup. It is the favorite choice of many Indians.
Badam Barfi: Square shaped Barfi made from Almonds and topped with cardamom seeds and pistachio nuts.
Ras Malai: Medallions of home-made curd cheese served in sweetened cream sauce.
Rasgulla: These round sweets hail from Bengal. They are white in color and come immersed in a tasty syrup.