The Indian Connect between Sweets and Festivals
India is a diverse country with numerous religions, festivals and people. Each and every state has it’s unique concoction of sweet recipes which has come down from ancient times passed on from generation to generation.
India is also a land where have so many religious festival for different god and goddess. According to Ancient tradition it is a belief that the first offering of the god should be sweet and unadulterated food.It should also be satvik hence majority of the sweets offered to gods are made up of ghee,milk and Sugar. Sugar is also not used in many cases where milk is boiled upto a point where it becomes solid and is sweet in nature. Since all of the ingredients that go into creating desserts is free of any additives along the same lines, they are seen as safe to offer to Gods in the temples. This is why the ritual has been passed down through the ages.
From the ancient rituals of believing mithai as pure and giving it to other people before self-consumption, Indian desserts are found in every aspect that is good. Doing so means getting God’s blessings and is a sign of a good omen – one that will bring prosperity and happiness in all your endeavors.
The beauty of this ritual is how simple it can be. A sweet or offering can be something as simple as a teaspoon of yogurt mixed with sugar (my favorite) or even a small dollop of honey that is offered to God before it is distributed. There are many different variations of the story of how this tradition started, but the story that my grandmother told me is as follows. Today sweets, aka “mithai,” are extremely popular and wide spread. Countless varieties can be purchased or made at home quite easily. But despite that, I still find myself reaching for that small teaspoon of homemade yogurt with sugar. I have had it before traveling somewhere for the first time, before going for job interviews, and have even given it to my kids before an important event. It gives me the feeling that someone or something is watching over me and the faith that everything will work out in the end.
In the old days, when human beings were living in the forest, sweetness was an indication that a particular thing was safe to eat. We knew fruits were safe because they were sweet. There is probably no food in nature that is both sweet and toxic. So the brain developed a reward pathway that made eating sweet foods pleasurable, and forced people to eat such things more and more when hungry.