Lehyam and Diwali: Find Out The Connection
Image Credit: Deepavali Lehyam, Image Source: icampinmykitchen

In Tamil Nadu, a shiny, garnet-hued mixture frequently comes as an integral part of the Diwali treats. It quickly evokes childhood memories for many. In this state, it is known as Deepavali Lehyam or Legiyam or marundhu. There was a time when around Diwali, it was a staple cooked by the women of the house, along with the festive laddus, murukkus, and other culinary fares. This has been a mainstay of the festival celebration in Tamil Nadu as a preventive and curative measure against the overindulgence and side effects of firecrackers. 

Kitchen ingredients link

A typical celebration scene of Deepavali, as called in this region, has some element or the other from the kitchen. For example, during this festival, after taking a bath, people wear new clothes. According to native belief, a corner of each piece of new apparel is smeared with turmeric to ward off evil. Manjal or turmeric is considered auspicious. 

Festivities begin with Lehyam

It has been a tradition in this state to consume Deepavali lehyam as first thing in the morning. It is considered as a preventive medicine. The marundhu protects the stomach from any infection. It contained only all-natural, therapeutic ingredients ensuring to hold up to the influx of desserts, piles of murukkus, and mélange of decadent dishes people indulge in. They also defend against the onset of colder months.

Marundhu, Image Source: India Food Network

Preventive measure

If one looks at this tradition, it narrates the thoughtful actions of the family's senior members. Elders understood how unjust and challenging it would be to prevent anyone from overeating during celebrations. As a result, everyone would swear by utmost restraint up to Deepavali morning. The family's wise women would negotiate a deal instead of ordering the youngsters to eat less: Have the lehyam, and you can wolf down whatever you want the rest of the day. It helps in digestion and prepare the body to overindulge. A few families also consume it after consuming rich meals. 

Deepavali Marundhu 

Lehyam reminds one of chyawanprash, especially in appearance. It has a strong zing, pungent flavour, and sweetness. Coriander seeds, carom seeds, black pepper, cumin seeds, ginger, cloves, jaggery, arisi, and kandha thippili, also known as chitharathai or lesser galangal—are a few of the ingredients of traditional Lehyam. It also contains honey and ghee. A few also include raisins and some other dry fruits. The recipe slightly differs from family to family. 

Preparing the nose, throat, and gut for festivities

Each component in it serves a purpose. Turmeric is a healer. Cold and cough are slayed by the Thippilis and the Chitharathai. The throat irritation is taken care of by pepper and ginger. Liquorice (athimathuram) treats wheezing caused by breathing in fireworks smoke. The entire lehyam strengthened the digestive system.

Deepavali Legiyam


  • 100 grams ginger 
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp carom seeds
  • 2 tsp black whole pepper
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • 250 gm jaggery
  • Water
  • 1 tsp dried ginger powder
  • 2 tsp athimathuram powder
  • 2 tsp Chitharathai power
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Gingelly oil
  • 2 tsp organic honey 
  • 2 tsp ghee


Deepavali Legiyam, Image Source: akshayamrecipes

  1. Peel the ginger and soak it for at least for half-an-hour
  2. In a bowl, soak the coriander, cumin, carom seeds, whole black pepper, green cardamoms, and cloves overnight. Next day grind them into a paste by adding little water
  3. Pound the soaked ginger into a smooth paste
  4. Prepare a syrup by boiling the jaggery in just enough water to dissolve it
  5. In a heated pan, add the ginger paste, jaggery syrup and the dry spices paste
  6.  Cook for some time. Stir constantly. 
  7. When it thickens, add the powders
  8. Continue cooking until the mixture turns viscous.
  9. Pour in the ghee, gingelly oil, and honey after turning off the heat
  10. Blend it quickly

Let it cool and store or serve. Try to prepare it at least 5 days before Diwali. Have a teaspoon of lehyam before indulging into festive culinary fares.