Other Times, Other Places

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

When it comes to sweets and gender, it is important not to generalize Western norms, ideas, and practices, since at other points in space and time the relationship is less marked, as in sub-Saharan Africa or Eastern Asia, or it is structured according to different notions. See sub-saharan africa and east asia. For instance, in India, a country where desserts are pervasive and infinitely varied, on Bhai Phota (Brother’s Day, also called Bhai Beej) sweets are presented to brothers and male members of the family. In the past, baby boys had their lips smeared with sweet substances before their first feeding, while fish was reserved for girls. Sweets are also strongly associated with weddings, regardless of the couple’s religion.