Wednesday, October 30, 2019
5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Free admission begins at 4 pm; all Diwali events are free.


Celebrate the ancient Festival of Lights

Diwali at the MFA celebrates an ancient festival of lights observed around the world by many cultures and religions. On Diwali, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains—some of the world’s oldest religious groups, light a diya (oil lamp) with family and friends, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. Join us for music and dance performances, interactive artist demonstrations, tours in the galleries exploring highlights from the collection of South Asian art, and much more.

Special Events

Book Signing and Reading

5 and 6 pm, Riley Seminar Room, 156

Join Bharat Babies for Diwali story time! CEO and founder Sailaja Joshi reads Let’s Celebrate Diwali, written by Anjali Joshi and illustrated by Tim Palin. Enjoy a drawing activity and book signing with Tim, and purchase your own copy of Let’s Celebrate Diwali.

Madhubani/Mithila Painting

6–9 pm, Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 159

Learn from award-winning artist and educator Sunanda Sahay as she demonstrates Madhubani, or Mithila, painting—a traditional art form from northern India. View works by Sahay’s students and make your own. At 6, 6:45, and 7:30 pm, drop in for Q and A sessions on Sahay’s techniques and inspirations.

ASL interpreter
6 pm

SubDrift Boston: Community Arts Showcase

7:30–9 pm, Remis Auditorium

Join members of Subcontinental Drift (SubDrift) Boston, part of a national movement building South Asian creative community, for a special showcase of music, poetry, and dance. Reflect on how Diwali and the arts create social and spiritual uplift. Follow SubDrift Boston on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @subdriftboston.

Free performance ticket required. Limited availability: first come, first served. Performance tickets available at Remis Auditorium starting 60 minutes before show time.


Little Bollywood Superstars

6 pm, Shapiro Courtyard

Young dancers from local nonprofit South Asian Nation show off the latest Bollywood moves.

Arthi Vijayakumar

6:30 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Watch the rhythmic movements and storytelling of Kuchipudi, as Arthi Vijayakumar brings to life this dance form originating in Andhra Pradesh, India. Then join an interactive audience dance lesson!

Kathak Dimensions: North Indian Classical Dance

7, 7:30, and 8 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Youth from Chhandika Institute of Kathak (Boston) and Chhandam Nritya Bharati (Mumbai) come together to present this dynamic art form of northern India. Be dazzled as this troupe tells ancient stories through sophisticated rhythms, nuanced footwork, poetry, and music.

Art Making

Diwali Diyas

5–9 pm, Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 160

Diyas are small lamps made out of clay and filled with oil to be lit for the five-day Diwali festival. Make your own diya out of clay and decorate with colorful beads.

Marigold Toran

5–9 pm, Gallery 168

Toran means gateway in Sanskrit. This garland-like decoration made out of leaves and marigold flowers adorns the doors of homes during Diwali. Make your own paper marigold flower toran.

Drawing in the Galleries

6–9 pm, Gallery 268

Sketch from a live model and objects in the galleries.

Tours and Talks

Spotlight Talks

5, 6, and 7 pm, Gallery 176

Enjoy 15-minute talks exploring three highlights of South Asian art, including Ganesh, the auspicious elephant-headed Hindu deity known as the “remover of obstacles”—an important aspect of Diwali.

ASL interpreter
5 and 6 pm

ASL Tour

6 pm, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Join Takiyah Harris on a free guided tour to explore highlights of the Museum collections. Tour is 60 minutes.

ASL only

Highlights Tour

6:15 and 7 pm, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Take a one-hour tour, featuring masterpieces from the MFA collection.

Artist Talk | Sneha Shrestha

7 pm, Riley Seminar Room, 156

Hear about the recent exhibition “Mindful Mandalas” from artist and educator Sneha Shrestha. Over a seven-month period, Shrestha collaborated with young artists from the Museum’s Community Arts Initiative partners to create a wall mural inspired by mandalas. Introduction by Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art.

ASL interpreter


The MFA is committed to accessibility for all visitors. For information, visit Accessibility, e-mail, or call 617-267-9300 or 617-369-3188 (TTY). Wheelchairs and walkers are available at all entrances, first come, first served.

Wheelchair accessible symbol

Wheelchair accessible

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Free admission begins at 4 pm; all Diwali events are free.