Sharing sweet mithai treats and snacks with friends, family, and colleagues is part of the festive tradition of Diwali. Learn how to make Indian homemade sweets and snacks to put in your holiday gift boxes!
What is Diwali?
Diwali or Deepavali is the late autumnal festival of lights which marks the triumph of good over evil. Every year the dates of this festival change because the holiday is based off of the lunar calendar. In 2023, Diwali falls on November 12th.
The reasons for celebrating during this time vary from region to region and even home to home. In the North, this celebration is a 5 day celebration known as Diwali and in the South a 4 day celebration called Deepavali.
More importantly, this is an overall time of celebration and new starts. This is when houses are deep-cleaned, new clothes are bought, and delicious food is consumed and shared. This festival is about a joyous celebration with community.
Diwali vs. Deepavali
- Celebrated Region - North Indian States
- Language of Origin - Derivation of Deepavali
- History of Celebration - Celebrates Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshman returning from war after a 14-year exile.
- Dates celebrated in 2022 - November 10-14 (5 days)
- Celebrated Region - South Indian States
- Language of Origin - Sanskrit word meaning Line of Lamps
- History of Celebration - Celebrates Lord Krishna defeating Narakasura
- Dates celebrated in 2022 - November 11-14 (4 days)
Tradition of Diwali Gift Boxes
A big tradition during the Diwali season is to hand out mithai, or sweets and snacks, to friends and neighbors. My mom would have a whole production line to make yummy desserts that she would hand out during the holidays. This tradition is very similar to handing out cookie boxes during Christmas time. Below, I've listed some delicious Indian sweets and snacks recipes that travel well in gift boxes and baskets and are so festive for the Diwali season.
Diwali Snacks and Sweets Recipes
Below, I've listed 5 sweets and snacks that are great additions to your homemade Diwali sweets boxes, which you can give away as a Diwali party favor or just to distribute to your friends, family or colleagues. They are ranked in terms of difficulty (Easy, Medium, Hard) and have explanations of key details that make them a great addition to your holiday gift box.
Description: Khajur Burfi is a great addition to a Diwali box that also happens to be sugar-free. This dessert is naturally sweetened by dates and gets its saltiness from mixed nuts. It takes minutes to make a large quantity and stays fresh for a long time, which makes it an ideal candidate during the holiday season.
Description: This Indian Cornflake Mixture is a great savory addition to your Diwali box. It's an easy recipe as it requires no frying; just mix spices, crunchy cornflakes, nuts, and raisins for a delicious snack that is salty, spicy, sweet, and tangy.
Description: Kesar Malai Peda is a deliciously decadent saffron milk fudge. Traditionally this dessert requires boiling milk for hours to get the fudge-like consistency, but this recipe utilizes the help of condensed milk and milk powder to achieve that taste within minutes. The only reason this dessert is medium difficulty is that it does involve a slight bit of work to roll these fudge balls into cute little rounds, but it is still a manageable amount of work that goes by quickly if you make it a fun family activity.
Description: This Arisi Murukku is a golden, crispy sesame and rice snack that is so delicious. Its tantalizing spiral shape, its nutty flavor, and its long shelf life makes it a great savory option for a Diwali gift box. The dough for this murukku comes together in minutes but the hard difficulty rating comes from the fact that it is a deep fried dish which can intimidate novice cooks. The spirals can easily be piped out using a murukku maker or with a bit more effort be piped out using a piping bag. The effort really goes a long way for a mesmerizing snack that will surely impress your friends.
Description: Kaju Katli is a delicious diamond-shaped cashew fudge. This is an iconic dessert that is a fan favorite. This dessert has simple ingredients but the trick to getting the beautifully set fudge is in getting the fudge to the right consistency and working quickly to roll and shape it into its iconic diamond shape. That being said, the whole kaju katli process takes about 35 minutes and it is one of the tastiest melt-in-your-mouth Indian sweets to make for the Diwali season.
What to add in to a Diwali sweet box
Print out Diwali cards
One thing to make your Diwali gift boxes stand out is to add Diwali cards. For my Diwali sweets box, I designed a card that had all the sweets contained in the box with descriptions of them. This is simple to create on your computer and then get printed out at your nearest drug store. You can also opt to buy a Diwali card and add a personal note to give your well wishes for the holiday.
Line Diwali boxes with parchment paper
You can use parchment paper that you use for daily baking to line your Diwali box. The parchment paper helps prevent grease stains that can show up if you have an unlined box and gives the box an extra decorative touch. You can buy diwali boxes like the one pictured here.
For other mixtures and snacks that go into the boxes, you can add see through bags that will not only highlight the snack in the box but keep it intact during travel.
Make sweets and savories that travel well
While deciding what to make for a Diwali sweets gift box, you want to choose items that travel well and last for a long time. Avoid sticky desserts like gulab jamoon or jalebi which can cause a mess if you are packing it with other items. Instead opt for some of these treats for your Diwali sweets and snack gift box.