Vivekanand Vellanki

I guess you are referring to the Ganesha festival done recently in India.

No, gods statues do not need to be given sweets (or food, for that matter).

However, many people believe that these statues are a representation of God. Hence, the statues are offered puja and food - note that nobody expects the statue to consume the food.

Since the statue actually represents God, one has to treat the statue like one treats God himself.

If you notice the puja that one performs, one of the first things that is done is to do "prana pratishta" for the statue. In other words, make the statue come to life. This is the first part of the puja. After this done, the rest of the puja is performed like it would be to a living person.

There are different ways of looking at such things:

  • At an intellectual level, this looks silly
  • At an emotional level, this whole concept is very powerful because it gives people an opportunity to serve God as though God has visited their home

You may not believe in this. But, a lot of people certainly do. It is wise not to hurt their feelings.

Sangeetha Pulapaka
Good observation! My guess is because sweets are considered as a special food in Hindu culture. It is not a food consumed by us Indians on a daily basis. We want to offer a special dish on a special occasion for God's blessing, For instance, we celebrate Vinayak Chaturthi for 3 days, 5 days, 7 days or 9 days. Ever wondered why this is a prime number? We will discuss this later. The prasad or the offering we make to this god are laddus, Kova, kheer, but there are also non-sweets like lemon rice and puffed rice. Story of puffed rice As mentioned in the Vedic Purana, the lord of wealth, Kubera once invited little Ganesha for a meal despite being warned by Lord Shiva that his son is a voracious eater. Kuber tried to impress with his wealth and served many exotic dishes but Ganesha would still be hungry. When there was nothing else left to serve, Kubera asked for Lord Shiva's help to find something that will satisfy Lord Ganesh. Lord Shiva offered him a handful of roasted rice and asked him to serve it to Ganesha with utmost love and devotion. Lord Kubera did as he was told and after eating just a handful of roasted rice Lord Ganesha's hunger was finally suppressed. Therefore, puffed rice is offered to Lord Ganesha as part of the bhog. The white dumpling made of rice flour and filled with jaggery is prepared in large quantities during Ganesh Chaturthi and offered to Lord Ganesha, who is often depicted with the Modakam in his left hand.. So, every food associated with the gods in hindu mythology has a story behind it. No worship is said to be complete without sacrifice and offering food to God. The process of preparing the food, offering it to the lord and finally eating it as prasadam has a spiritual significance. We are acquitted from the karma involved in acquiring the food. Offering food is considered as a sacrificial act and it reminds us that food is not merely intended to appease our taste. 1. Offering Milk to Lord Shiva. Agamas give a lot of importance to abhishekam in Shiva pooja and it makes the ceremonies many times more effective. Hence, Milk is offered as neivedyam and abhishekam to Lord Shiva and Ganesha.. 2. Red lentils are considered to be favored by Lord Hanuman and Surya Dev. This is a common food item and can be seen in a lot of Hindu festivals. 3. It is said that any offering in yellow impresses Lord Vishnu. Yellow lentils, jaggery, yellow laddoo, etc. are considered the favourite dishes of Lord Vishnu. . I hope this answers your question!
Ramanath Parimi

No, your question is not at all inappropriate.  Also, note that I am answering this in the context of Hindu religion only.

Vivek wrote sensible answer. Adding few points -

In English language, the term god refers to the creator and ruler of this universe and he is the authority of morals, and he is only one sitting up there guarding the entire creation.

But in Hindu religion, we have many gods or forms rather, to put it correctly. We have human gods, animal gods, tree gods, gods and goddesses  - all kinds of stuff. We don't refer them as gods, they are called deva-s instead, which means self-luminous.

Sounds weird, right. How can there be more than one deity? If so, who is bigger and greater among all of this? Whom should be worship? All of these questions will raise.

All these forms are not coming from up to us; but made according to us. On the surface, each deity seem to be having a particular power, shape and energy. But whichever you may pick, that will lead you to the supreme being. All you have to do is step in and submit yourself. One of the reasons India is called as sub continent is because how many different cultures, worshiping deities we have but stand as one. To me, this is the real freedom. You can choose any deity you like and that will uplift you from then.

This also proves that everything around you is divine. If you pay enough attention, even a tiny object can lead you to the ultimate truth. So when you say statue, its made up of clay or rock on the surface to the naked eye. But for a seeker, its a gateway in his search of truth.

We do offering to a deity for the same reason. It may be a sweet or a fruit or a leaf or meat. Whatever it may be , you do it because the deity is so close to you, and the supreme being, through that deity. It is affection generating within you.

I hear lot of arguments saying, "Why don't you donate the milk to the poor instead of pouring on a rock that is siva linga?" etc.

Affection generates from you, right. Its a sweet emotion. That is why you want to feed or gift your beloved ones. Do you know exactly how that deed makes other person feel? You only know how much they could express. At the end of the day, the giving/looking after makes you happy. Thats why you do it and you shouldn't expect others to appreciate it, most of the times.

So when a devotee offers something to a deity, he is experiencing same sweetness as you experience when you gift to your beloved one. That is a statue for you, not for him. It is like, in the situation of a calamity, my neighbour's mother is a statue for me in comparison with my mother. It is the same case with my neighbour as well.

We have a great saying in our local language, Telugu, "We do offer food to god not because he is hungry, but to keep us hungry."