What Foods Are Traditionally Eaten During the Diwali Festival?

Sweet foods are traditionally eaten and exchanged during the Diwali festival, though savory snacks are also popular. Diwali is the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs.

Each fall, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The five-day festival is predominately filled with foods that are traditionally sweet in nature. Indian sweets are known as mithai and are eaten throughout the days of the festival as snacks and accompaniments to meals. Mithai usually have a base of chickpea flour, rice flour, semolina, beans, vegetables and yogurt. Nuts and raisins are added to the mithai base, as are spices such as cinnamon, rose or cardamom.

Common traditional sweets include sohan papdi, a sweet flaky dessert, and laddoo, balls of dough tossed in sugar. Barfi is a cardamom-flavored bar made of condensed milk and sugar. Mawa Kachori is a puff pastry flavored with nuts and cardamom. These sweets, or mithai, are prepared in the weeks leading up to Diwali and packaged in beautiful boxes. During Diwali, the boxes of treats are exchanged among family and friends.

In addition to the plethora of sweets, there are also several savory snacks that are popular during Diwali. These include lentil appetizers known as chakri and snack mixes of dried ingredients known as chivda or Bombay mix. Daily festival meals are also accompanied by deep fried breads known as puris, dal, curries and fried pakoras.