Three Great Diwali Events Happening in Boston

Here's where to celebrate the Hindu 'festival of lights.'

Light outshines darkness, good conquers evil, and hope prevails over despair during Diwali, the Hindu “festival of lights.”

One of India’s biggest holidays, the spiritual celebration originated as a harvest festival when people would ask for blessings from Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, before a new financial year began.

During Diwali, households traditionally set up lamps to protect from darkness. The festival features a prayer to Lakshmi, a feast, and fireworks.

Though it’s a Hindu holiday, many Indians celebrate Diwali regardless of faith. The exact interpretation of the story behind Diwali also varies, but ultimately, the celebration is about good triumphing over evil, a concept most folks can get behind.

This year, Diwali kicks off on Thursday, October 23. Traditionally the celebration lasts five days, but events take place throughout October and November. There are plenty of Diwali events happening in the area, including a festival hosted by Malden Bhakta Group, a gala at the Marriott Cambridge, an annual banquet in Andover, and more.

For those looking for a more introductory way to take part in Diwali—and stay in the city—consider the following events in Boston:


“Diwali: The Festival Lights” at the MFA

Admission to the MFA is free on Wednesday evenings, and the museum’s special programming in celebration of Diwali is free, too. In celebration of the Festival of Lights, visitors will be treated to a presentation on “Diwali Around the World,” dance performances by students from the Jain Center, a talk in the exhibition “Pure Souls: The Jain Path to Perfection,” and family art-making where you and young ones can use colorful sand to make traditional Rangoli designs.

Free, Wednesday, October 22, 6-9:45 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300. Details at


Celebrate Diwali at Boston Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum will celebrate Diwali on Sunday with special performances and activities that will be both fun and educational for kids. For example, in the morning, Pyari Mohan will tell stories about Indian culture while performing magic tricks. The museum will host two dance performances in the afternoon, as well as a prayer, while drop-in activities include “Fun with Spices,” dress-up, and lantern-making.

$14 general admission, Sunday, October 26, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston, 617-426-6500. Details at


Diwali at the Taj Boston

In honor of the Festival of Lights, the Taj will offer a special dinner menu this Thursday through Saturday at its restaurant, The Cafe. The menu, created by specialty chef Gurminder Gidda, has dishes with American and Indian influences “to delight the senses.” Options include Bhati ka Jheenga, char grilled marinated shrimp with aromatic spices; Nalli Ghost, spiced lamb shank, onion, and tomato gravy scented with saffron; and traditional Indian desserts.

$45 per person, Thursday, October 23, through Saturday, October 25, 5:30-10 p.m., The Cafe at Taj Boston, 15 Arlington St., Boston, 617-598-5255,

Also coming to the Taj in November is the Network of South Asian Professionals of Boston’s Diwali Gala 2014. The event comes with dinner, dancing with DJ Yogz, DJ D-Xtreme, and Dholi.

$75 tickets for nonmembers, Friday, November 7, 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Taj Boston, 15 Arlington St., Boston, 617-598-5255. More info at


— Plus —
Check out these upcoming events for an extra dose of Indian culture:


A. R. Rahman Meets Berklee at Symphony Hall

You may recognize acclaimed musician A. R. Rahman’s name for his work on such movies as Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. The Grammy and Oscar winner will perform at Symphony Hall this Friday and receive an honorary doctor of music degree from Berklee.

Friday, October 24, 8 p.m., Symphony Hall,


Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy

This series by Company One reframes the Hindu trinity of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the protector, and Shiva the destroyer into three different coming-of-age stories. Performances are scheduled in a way such that you could watch the entire trilogy in a day if you wanted to.

October 24-November 22, Boston Center for the Arts,


Boston Bhangra Competition 2014

Bollywood enthusiasts can convene at the Orpheum next month to check out the Boston Bhangra competition, where teams from around the country will show off their moves. Four of the teams hail from Massachusetts, so don’t forget to cheer on the home team.

November 22, 6 p.m., Orpheum Theatre,