Hindi Language Blog

Festivals … and Mithaai! Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in Hindi Language

When I was growing up in India, the fall season was always my favorite time of the year.

Once the monsoons had tapered off, typically marked by Ganesh visarjan (गणेश विसर्जन/immersion of Ganesh idols), it was time to look forward to cooler and shorter days.

However, the barely imperceptible shift to decreasing temperatures was not as much the highlight as was the chain of festivals that would mark this time of the year. Beginning with Navratri and rolling into Dashahara (also Dussehra or Vijayadashami) and Deepavali, a nearly month long festival season ensured a steady stream of holidays, gifts, visits to friends and family, new clothes, and the permission to eat a limitless supply of mithaai (मिठाई /sweets) and namkeen (नमकीन /savory snacks). I never held back from the opportunity for pet puja (पेट पूजा / an idiomatic phrase that literally means “stomach worship.” In figurative speech it means “to take good care of one’s stomach by eating a variety of delicacies to keep the stomach happy.”

There are mithaai and snacks unique to different parts of the country, however, there are some that can be commonly found and relished anywhere. Gujiya, kaju katli, laddoo, and chakli are ubiquitous festival fare across India.

Let’s read this conversation between a mother and child as they get ready to visit relatives on the occasion of Deepavali.

Mother: जल्दी करो बेटा, मामाजी के घर जाना है।
Jul-dee karo bay-ta,mama-jee kay ghar jaana hai.
(Hurry up, child, we have to go to your uncle’s house.)

Child: माँ, मैं अपने नये कपड़े पहनूँ ?
Maa, main up-nay naye kup-day pehnoon?
(Mom, should I wear my new clothes?)

Mother: ज़रूर, बेटा, क्यों नहीं? आज दीपावली है।
Zaroor bay-ta, kyon nahin? Aaj Deepavali hai.
(Sure, child, why not? It is Deepavali today.)

Child: माँ, मामाजी और मामीजी के घर खूब सारी मिठाई खाऊँगी।
Maa, mama-jee aur mami-jee kay ghar khoob saari mithai khaaoongi.
(Mom, I am going to eat a lot of sweets at uncle and aunty’s house.)

Mother: अच्छा, क्या क्या खाओगे?
Accha. Kya kya khaaoge?
(I see. What will you eat?)

Child: लड़डू, काजू कतली, गुजिया, और और  … हलवा।
Laddoo, kaju-katli, gujiya, … aur, aur, halva!
(Laddoo, kaju-katli, gujiya, … and, and, halva!)


Mother (laughing): फिर तो पेट पूजा। हम उनके लिए गुलाब जामुन ले चलें?
Phir to ho gayi pet pooja! Hum unke liye gulab jamun le chalein?
(Then that’s definitely going to make your stomach happy! Shall we take gulab jamun for them?)
Image by Golden_ie on Flickr.com




जल्दी करो                                 jul-dee k-ro (hurry up or make haste)

बेटा                                           bay-taa
(son; can also be used to address a child of either gender)

जाना                                         jaana (to go)

मामाजी                                    mama-jee (mama =uncle; specifically, mother’s brother)

घर                                            ghar (house)

नये                                           na-yae (new)

कपड़े                                       kup-day (clothes)

पहनूँ                                        pahanoon (conjugation of pahanna=to wear)

ज़रूर                                      zaroor (sure; most certainly)

क्यों नहीं                                kyon nahin (why not)

आज                                       aaj (today)

मामीजी                                   mami-jee
(mami =aunt; specifically, mother’s brother’s wife)

खूब सारी                                khoob saari (a lot)

खाओगे                                  khaao-gay (will eat; conjugation of khaana= to eat)

लड़डू                                     lud-doo (varieties of round sweets)

काजू कतली                          kaju-kutli
(kaju=cashew; kutli=small diamond-shaped cakes)

गुजिया                                   gujiya
(deep-fried pastry with a sweet filling)

हलवा                                   hul-vaah (a variety of sweet confection)


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About the Author: Nitya

Namaste, friends. My name is Nitya. I was born and raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). I'm a native Hindi speaker. However, as life took me through school, college, work, and waves of friends from different parts of India, my repertoire of Hindi flavors and dialects grew and added dimension to my native fluency. Casual, formal, colloquial, and regional ... Hindi is a language with incredible variety and localization. Through this blog, I will help you learn Hindi through conversations, vocabulary, colloquialisms, and glimpses of Indian culture. आओ, मिलकर हिंदी सीखते हैं। (Aao, milkar Hindi seekhte hain!) Come, let's learn Hindi together.


  1. Nikhil:

    Thank you for this. Just wondering, is it normal for parents to speak to their daughters using male verb forms? I notice the mother asks the daughter that all she will eat with the verb form khaaoge. Why didn’t she use khaaogi?