Halwai is a caste of Vaishya varna (community) with traditional primary occupation related to confectionery and sweet-making. The name is derived from an Arabic word Halwa, a popular sweet..
Traditionally Indians ate food cooked at their own kitchen, although food cooked with ghee/oil by halwais was considered to be an acceptable exception.[page needed]
Baba Ganinath Govind is the kul Guru of Halwai / Madhesia cast. purity of sweets is considered to be an important attribute.
In some parts of Uttar Pradesh, some believe that they have descended from a man by the name 'Bhalandan.' This Bhalandan came into being due to the will of the Hindu god Brahma. This individual married a woman named Marutwati. Their son was an individual who was named Vatsa Priti. One of the latter's descendents, an individual called Modan, took to making sweetmeats.
The community was among the earliest to set up its own caste association, the Kanyakubja Vaishya Halwai Mahasabha, which was established in Varanasi in the year 1903.