Guide for Desserts Enjoyed During Indian Festivals

Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Holi, Navroz, Lohri, Onam, Pongal and the list can just go on. Festivals are a very important part of the Indian culture. If festivals are the heart of India, festive sweets are like their soul. Festive sweets are like food for the soul because they are not only irresistibly delectable but also have a ton of emotions and memories attached to them.

You can never get over your childhood favorite ‘sheer khurma’ made by Grandma on Eid.
And the Diwali aura around the mithai/sweet shops at Chandni Chowk in Delhi.
The aroma of ‘Christmas cake’ that fills the streets in December.
And the irresistible smell of ‘hot jalebis’ during Holi.

And the irresistible smell of ‘hot jalebis’  during Holi.Taste and aroma are well-known to transport us back in time, to some of the best memories we have lived. In India, any happy occasion calls for sweets. Whether a baby is born, a marriage is fixed, a new job or promotion is acquired, or a cricket match is won, Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye!” is how most Indians bring in a celebration.

“Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye” literally translates to “Let’s have something sweet!” but the translation doesn’t really do justice to the essence of this phrase.

Traditional Indian Sweets

Gujiya is a sweet deep-fried dumpling made with a stuffing of coconut or semolina and dried fruits. These are especially made during Diwali, Holi and Christmas.

Besan Ladoos are gram flour balls made with ghee, sugar and nuts. They are made for most festive and religious occasions. Ladoos are childrens’ all-time favorites.


Coconut Barfi is a dense sweet made of coconut, condensed milk, sugar and cardamom powder. They are very popular during Diwali and Christmas.

Kala Khand is a dense sweet made out of cottage cheese, solidified milk and sugar. They are widely consumed during festive and wedding occasions.

Cham Cham is a traditional Bengali sweet made with flour, sugar, lemon juice and coconut. They come in a variety of colors like light pink, light yellow or white. Cham Chams find their fans in most kids because of their colorful appearance.

Kaju Pista Rolls are cylindrical rolls made out of cashew and pistachio. They have the texture of play-dough and are green on the inside (pistachio dough) and white on the outside (cashew dough). Most Indian festivals are incomplete without these famous nutty rolls.

Gulab Jamun is the Indian version of doughnut balls. Deep fried and then dipped in sugar syrup, this sweet is indulged upon on any given happy occasion. Gulab Jamun is almost every Indians’ favorite dessert.

Sheer Khurma is a special vermicelli pudding, prepared on the festival of Eid by Muslim households. The main ingredients of this dish are vermicelli, milk, sugar, cardamom powder and dried fruits and nuts. No Eid celebration is ever complete without the family-favorite Sheer Khurma.

Shahi Tukda is a rich and decadent bread pudding made with fried bread slices, condensed milk, cardamom, saffron and dried fruits. Shahi Tukda is synonymous with wedding and festive celebrations, and is also a Ramadan and Eid staple.

Meethi Seviyaan or sweet vermicelli is made by combining vermicelli, sugar, ghee, cardamom and dried fruits. This simple dessert is a Ramadan and Eid favorite too.

Badam Kheer, also known as Phirni and Payasam is a simple rice pudding made with broken rice, milk, almonds, raisins and cardamom. It is a commonly made during Diwali, Ramadan, Eid, Pongal, Onam and other Indian festivals.

Rose Cookies or Achu Murukku are fried cookies shaped like rose petals. These crunchy cookies are lightly sweet and absolutely irresistible. They are very popular during Christmas.

Kalkals are bits of sweet fried dough, which are shaped as tiny curls or shells. Crunchy outside and chewy inside, these heavenly bites are a Christmas favorite.

Marzipan Fruits are made with almond meal and sugar and come in various fruit shapes and colors. This traditional Christmas dessert is a favorite of kids and adults alike.

Fruit Cake is made with dried fruits like raisins, cherries, plums, currants or sultanas, soaked in fruit juice and then added to flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Christmas can never be complete without this cake, which is also famously known as Christmas Cake.

For more yummy dishes, visit my Instagram page here.

Guide for Indian Desserts Enjoyed During All Festivals

Author: Minali Bajaj Syed

Minali Bajaj-Syed is an Indian, born and settled in Kuwait. Having lived in Kuwait, India and the United States, I have had the opportunity to experience a diverse set of cultures. Thus, I consider myself as a global citizen. I am always learning, evolving and trying to spread some positivity. On most days, I am a mother to two kids and a food blogger on Instagram @cinnamon_cardamom.

6 Replies to “Guide for Desserts Enjoyed During Indian Festivals

  1. Indian festivals sound like they would be a lot of fun – especially with lots of sweets! The gulab jamun sounds and looks so delicious!

  2. wow this is such a great post! Indian desserts are so underestimated here in the USA! I tried almost everything you mentioned here since we have really good friends that cook, and I wish everyone had a chance to show more appreciation! 😉

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