Why do we give sweets on Diwali ?

Diwali Sweets gifting
Why do we give sweets on Diwali

Have you ever thought why we give sweets on Diwali?  Is this just a tradition or is there something else? Did you know Diwali is celebrated differently in different parts of India?
It is hard to imagine celebrating Diwali without sweets.  From your neighbor to your best friend, it is the must have gift that you buy to celebrate the occasion. But, “Why do we give sweets on Diwali?”

To know the importance of giving sweets, first you need to discuss the significance of gifting sweets, let us know why we celebrate this beautiful festival of light.
Did you know Diwali is celebrated differently in different parts of India?  There are five different stories related to Diwali.

  • Most famous and well-known  story is of Ramayana. According to this story, we celebrate Diwali to celebrate the homecoming of Lord Rama with his wife Sita and brother Laxman to their home Ayodhya. Lord Rama as per his father’s order was living in exile for 14 years with his wife and brother in forest.  During the final years of the exile, Ravan, kidnapped Sita. In a furious battle to save Sita, Rama defeated Ravan and returned to Ayodhya. It is this day we celebrate Diwali.  It’s a celebration of good over evil.
    As per Ramayana, the people of Ayodhya decorated their houses with diyas and distributed sweets to celebrate this happy occasion.
  • In another story, we celebrate  the homecoming of Pandavas to their homeland after living in exile for a long time.In a tricky gambling game, Kauravas defeated Pandavas and were ordered to live in exile. After living 13 years in forest, Pandavas returned to Hastinapura. According to Mahabaratha, the people of Hastinapura illuminated their houses with lamps, and distributed sweets to celebrate the joyous moment of their return.
  • According to another legend, Diwali is celebrated to remember the wedding anniversary of Lord Vishnu and Godess Lakshmi.
    During the time of Samudra Mathan, in search of Amritha, many valuable things came up. One of the things that arose was Goddess Lakshmi, daughter of the Ocean. The same day, Lord Vishnu married Lakshmi. Sweets were exchanged to celebrate the cheerful occasion.  And this tradition still continues when we celebrate “Lakshmi Pooja” during Diwali.
  • According to a another story Diwali celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu over the asura King Mahabali.Legends say Mahabali was an asura king who became famous among people of earth as the result of his good work.  During the reign of Mahabali people were happy and were prosperous.
    The envious Devas feared that if Mahabali continued to rule the earth, he would become more powerful and become undefeatable
    So, they approached Lord Vishnu to find an answer to this trouble.  Lord Vishnu disguised himself as a Brahmin boy (Vamana) and pushed the king to Pathala.
  • In some parts of India, Diwali is celebrated to remember this victory.  As in any other festival, exchange of sweets is part of the celebration.
    Another tale also exists, especially in Eastern/Southern parts of India.  In this story, we celebrate Diwali to remember the victory of Sri Krishna over the evil king Narakasura.
    It is believed Narakasura was a powerful and a greedy king.  When his actions became unbearable, Lord Indra requested Lord Vishnu for help.  Lord Vishnu in form of Sri Krishna killed Narakasura in a furious battle. Before death, Narakasura requested for a boon that people of earth should celebrate his death anniversary.  This is the day, we celebrate “Naraka Chaturdashi” during Diwali.
  • We celebrate this day by bursting crackers and by exchanging sweets, exchange sweets.
  • Diwali also marks the end of harvest season of the year. Farmers are thankful for the plentiful bounty of the year gone by
    And they share their happiness with everybody else – by exchanging gifts and sweets.
  • That said this is not the only reason why we gift sweets. Diwali also means start of a new year. It also marks the beginning of a new farming / business year.  We welcome New Year by wearing new clothes, visiting temples and exchanging sweets.

In short, the sweets we give at time of Diwali are for wishing our friends and family a prosperous and Happy New Year.

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