Halloween kicked off a season of indulgence for many of us, as we look towards Thanksgiving and the holiday party season. For a billion celebrants around the world, it’s all about the Hindu “Festival of Lights,” a.k.a. Diwali, coming up on November 13 through 17. And this means a variety of confections known as mithai.

Offered in prayer or as blessings to loved ones, the mark of quality mithai requires the sweets to be freshly made and delicate in taste. As The Wall Street Journal describes, “They taste of milk and toasty clarified butter, plus nuts, fruits and spices. Adorned with silver or gold leaf or colored in brilliant hues, they are supremely festive. There are myriad regional varieties, but many are made with fresh, sweet cheese, ground nuts or milk that’s slowly simmered until dense, rich and fudgy.”

Diwali in essence is all about celebrating the triumph of “good over evil,” which for disciples roughly means the compassion and self-awareness that comes when knowledge transcends ignorance. Whereas the traditions associated with Diwali often involve mithai, the sweets are not limited to Diwali. Many occasions considered auspicious, like weddings, will call for them as well.

Hindustan Times reports a new trend of ‘fusion mithai,’ joining chocolate as popular contemporary take on the tradition. For those interested but don’t live close to a purveyor, WSJ provides four mail-order options.

[via The Wall Street Journal]