Durban - It’s that special time of year when Hindus around the world celebrate Deepavali, or Diwali, “the festival of lights”.

Deepavali, which will be celebrated on November 13, means a “row of lights”, and refers to the triumph of darkness over evil and, on a spiritual level, a person’s enlightenment.

Homes will be lit up with rows of clay lamps, and families will come together after their prayers at home.

According to Wikipedia, Diwali is celebrated because Lord Rama returned with his wife Sita to their home in Ayodhya, after a 14-year exile and the vanquishing of the demon-king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya lined the pathways of the village with lit clay lamps to guide him home.

Diwali also marks the end of the harvest season in India, and farmers pray to Goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth and prosperity, for the harvest of the year gone by, and for a good harvest for the coming year.

Diwali is a time of giving as well, and trays of sweetmeats are exchanged between family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

The Independent on Saturday visited Victory Lounge in Dr Yusuf Dadoo (Grey) Street, Durban, to look at some of the sweetmeats on sale for Diwali.

Billy Moodley, who owns the shop, said his father, RK Moodley, started the business in 1946, and they were still going strong.

His wife Kanagee said the shop was busy at this time of year, as people began to place orders for sweetmeats.

“We have been getting calls from the same people who have been ordering from us for years and years, and we get calls for orders from Cape Town and Johannesburg too,” she said.

Popular sweetmeat treats are:

* Burfee: this sweetmeat is made with milk powder and condensed milk, flavoured with cardamom and rosewater and decorated with almonds.

* Gulab jamun: This sweetmeat is made with cake flour, milk powder and condensed milk, and is fried and then dipped in syrup.

* Coconut ice: This is made with sugar, desiccated coconut and milk.

* Sutarfeni: This sweetmeat is made with shredded phyllo pastry or dough, and sugar.

* Chana magaj: This is made with gram or chickpea flour, sugar and milk powder, and decorated with almonds.

* Ladhoo: This is also made with gram flour, sugar and crushed cardamom pods.

* Mesoor: This sweetmeat is made from gram flour, ghee and sugar.

* Jalebi: This bright orange sweetmeat is made with flour, buttermilk and yellow food colouring. - Independent on Saturday