Diwali, India’s most celebrated holiday, is on Thursday, November 4, 2021. Diwali, commonly referred to as the Festival of Lights, is a five-day annual event commemorating the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness. In essence – it is a celebration of new beginnings.
Families celebrate Diwali in their own fashion while keeping its historical significance close to heart. Common forms of celebration include lighting diyas (clay lamps), rangoli (floor decorations with colored powder, rice, and flowers), fireworks, family gatherings, exchanging of gifts and well wishes, and plenty of food and sweets.
In-person Diwali celebrations are taking place in 2021, but some are still keeping their observances virtual. However you choose to celebrate or learn about Diwali this year, cheers to a new beginning!
Diwali (In-Person!) events for families
Festival of India & Diwali Mela, Fremont
When: Saturday, October 9, 2021; 9 am-5 pm
Where: 39639 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
What’s great for families: Festival of Globe (FOG) and the City of Fremont want to integrate global cultures, and the Diwali Mela is a great way to get your kids into it. Feature dance performances, food trucks, and plenty of booths.
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Bay Area Diwali Festival of Lights 2021, Cupertino
When: Saturday, October 16, 2021; 11 am-6 pm
Where: Memorial Park Cupertino 10185 N.Stelling Road, Cupertino with free parking at De Anza College
What’s great for families: FREE. The festival appeals to all the senses: delicious Indian food, music, and dancing featuring classical Kathak and Bharatanatyam to Bhangra and popular Bollywood dances. The Kids Zone is packed throughout the day with exciting activities including a petting zoo, pony rides, jump houses, face painting, and much more.
Find out more on Facebook >
Sunnyvale Diwali Festival of Lights @ Sunnyvale Community Center
When: Saturday, October 30 (11 am-3 pm)
Where: Sunnyvale Community Center, 550 E Remington Dr, Sunnyvale
What’s great for families: South Asian Cultural Association of Sunnyvale (SACAS) presents this FREE family event featuring dances, food trucks, a kids zone, henna, and much more. No fee, but must RSVP for the event.
Learn more >
Diwali: Festival of Lights @ Children’s Discovery Museum
When: Saturday, November 6 (all-day event)
Where: Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, 180 Woz Way
What’s great for families: Diwali celebration features performances, activities, and crafts that bring the Indian Festival of Lights to life along with all the other attractions of the museum itself. Activities include Rangoli art activities, storytimes, lantern, and henna. As part of the museum’s Cultural Celebration Series, it is included with Museum admission.
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Crafts and Art at Home
There are creative ways to honor Diwali right at home. In addition to decorating our house, we will be doing lots of Diwali art at home.
- Make your own rangoli powder and use stencils to create designs.
- Print out Diwali coloring sheets.
- We have also completed this Diwali art video tutorial for kids to hang up at home.
- If we have extra time, we will also make these very cute paper diya’s.
- Hang lights and decorate
- No celebration is complete without some dancing and bhangra!
Diwali Food and Sweets
Eating is always the best part of any holiday, amiright!? Here are our favorite places to shop for Diwali and grab your favorite Indian cuisine.
Favorite Diwali Grocery Stops
- Viks Chaat (Berkeley): Vik’s is the one-stop-shop to grab a delectable lunch or dinner, while picking up your Indian groceries. They also have a nice selection of Diwali gifts and, of course, sweets! The gulab jamun here is our favorite!
- Bombay Spice House (Berkeley): Pick up all your groceries, shop for Diwali, and grab some samosas to-go.
- Milan Sweet Center (Milpitas): If you’re going to venture out of the 510, this is the place to go! You can choose from an array of sweets and indulge in one-of-a-kind vegetarian food options. You will be hooked!
Favorite Indian Cuisines
When we’re not cooking at home, we like these places for delicious Indian food around the East Bay.
- Annapurna (Oakland): an Oakland staple of Nepalese & Indian classics.
- Udupi Palace (Berkeley): the idli sambar is one of the best in the East Bay.
- Namaste Madras Cuisine (Berkeley): best dosas and chutneys in the Bay!
- India Palace (Alameda): flavorful curries with meat or vegetarian dishes.
- Chaat Bhavan (Fremont): choose from a variety of tasty Indian street food.
- Amber (San Francisco): if you’re really looking to treat yourself!
Navratri events for families
This year, there are a few organizations hosting in-person events that invite you to join the circle (literally) of dance, live music, prayer, colorful attire, and social gathering. It is not necessary to wear traditional clothing, but it does make it more fun! There are options to rent traditional Indian clothing or buy it.
Navratri 2021 begins on Thursday, October 7, and ends on Friday, October 15 (event dates vary).
Prepare your family for Navratri this year with a garba and dandia tutorial before heading to one of these events!
Gujarati Cultural Association (GCA) Bay Area Raas Garba, Fremont
Dates: Fri, October 8; Sat, Oct.9; Fri, Oct.15, Sat, Oct.16; Fri Oct. 22, Sat, Oct.23
Time: 7:30 pm-11:30 pm
Where: Washington High School, 38442 Boulevard, Fremont
Website to RSVP >
Peninsula Gujarati Association (PGA) Save the Dandyia, South San Francisco
When: Sat, October 9 and Sun, Oct.10; starts at 8 pm
Where: South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 S Airport Blvd, South San Francisco
Find out more on Facebook >
Did we miss one? Send us any events happening in your community.