Diwali will be here soon, and you know what that means: good food, festive gatherings with family and friends and presents for all your loved ones! If you're like us and still have some last-minute shopping to do, PETA's easy animal-friendly gift and celebration ideas will delight everyone on your list:

  • Get personal: Personalise your Diwali wishes with a handmade card, or send PETA's super-cute animal-friendly e-card.
  • scentsational gift: Bring a smile to a special someone's face with Omved's handcrafted vegan soaps (blended with pure essential oils), soy wax candles, aromatic massage oils and other indulgent spa-worthy treats. Check out cruelty-free soaps and other personal-care products from Medimix and the other companies mentioned on PETA's "Don't Test" list. For cruelty-free cosmetics, try Cosmedic by Future SkinTrumount Cosmeceuticals and Vicco
  • Diva-worthy diyas: A hand-spun, hand-painted diya will light up anyone's life. Look for beeswax-free diyas in a variety of shapes and vivid colours at your local market or online.
  • A sweet treat: No Diwali celebration would be complete without yummy vegan sweets! We love C4 Chocolates' chocolate biscotti, Swiss truffles, almond rocks and other handmade dark-chocolate confections. (Be sure to stick to the vegan-friendly, dark-chocolate options.) And if that's not enough for the sweet tooth, Amore Gourmet Italian Gelato's vegan sorbets come in fresh flavours, such as fig, guava, papaya and chocolate (our favourite).
  • And to top off your treats: If you're hosting your own celebration, be sure to include animal-friendly Rich's Whip Topping. This luscious dairy-free whipped topping will make your homemade vegan sweets that much more delicious.

Don't forget to check out these recipes for delicious vegan Diwali sweets.

Here's a bonus recipe to get you started. Happy Diwali, everyone!

Badam (Almond) Halwa

3 cups almonds, soaked in water for 2 hours and drained
2–3 cups soya milk (try Staeta brand)
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. cardamom powder
1 tsp. canola oil
2–3 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
2–3 Tbsp. golden raisins

  • Place the almonds in a blender. Add enough soya milk to cover by at least ½ inch. Blend until you have a pancake-like batter (slightly grainy but without any large pieces).
  • Melt the margarine in a non-stick skillet or cast-iron pan. Stir in the almond paste and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the paste has lost most of its moisture. Turn off the heat and stir in the cardamom powder. Pour onto a plate or serving dish and set aside.
  • Heat the canola oil in a small saucepan. Add the pumpkin seeds and raisins and stir until the pumpkin seeds start to change colour. Pour over the almond paste.
  • For a festive presentation, scoop into small cupcake liners before serving.

Makes 4 servings