Diwali with East Bay Kids (2021) - 510 Families
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Diwali with East Bay Kids (2021)

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.

Using stencils for rangoli (colored powder) is a common art custom during Diwali. It’s fun for all ages! | Photo: Shraddha V. Patel

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 events for families | Crafts to do at home | Diwali food and sweets | Navratri events for families

Diwali (In-Person!) events for families

Non Stop Bhangra Indian dance performance
Non-Stop Bhangra celebrates the beautiful and vibrant spirit of Bhangra, traditional Punjabi folk music and dance. Featuring dance lessons and dance performances with Dholrhythms Dance Company, an eclectic mix of DJs, live drummers, and guest musicians. | Photo: Non Stop Bhangra

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.
Find out more on Facebook>


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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.
Find out more>

Remember to RSVP in advance, and let us know which celebrations you loved!

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.


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diwali kid art
Happy Diwali 2021 | Photo: Julia Gidwani

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!
colorful diyas
Pick up some colorful diyas for Diwali while you shop for groceries at Viks. | Photo: Julia Gidwani

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 time of year also includes festivities encompassing Diwali. Navratri (nine nights of celebrating good over evil, and honoring the powerful goddess Durga) is the most renowned.

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). 

East Bay Family Garba dancing with children
East Bay Family Garba in Oakland, 2019 was year five | Photo: East Bay Family Garba

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.

Here’s to new beginnings. Happy Diwali to all! | Photo: Shraddha V. Patel

Read more about Diwali and Navratri here.

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