Special Event


Thursday, November 9, 2023
5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Included with General Admission
Add to Calendar 2023-11-09 17:00:00 2023-11-09 22:00:00 Diwali 11/09/2023 5–10 pm Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA Museum of Fine Arts, Boston tickets@mfa.org America/New_York public

Join us for an evening of art, performances, and activities in celebration of Diwali! This ancient festival of lights is 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. Catch music and dance, make art, tour the galleries of South Asian art, and more.

Special General Admission Pricing after 5 pm on November 9

Enjoy $5 minimum, pay-what-you-wish general admission to MFA Boston during our Diwali celebration (available in person day of, starting at 5 pm).

Events and Activities

Drop-In Art Making: Paper Lanterns

5–9 pm (last entry 8:45 pm)
Druker Studios, Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art

Create a glowing paper lantern inspired by Mithila or Madhubani, a 2,500-year-old art form from North India that uses bright contrasting colors and line designs. This activity was created in consultation with Sunanda Sahay, an artist from Darbhanga, India, who currently resides in Acton, Massachusetts, and has been painting in the Mithila/Madhubani style for more than 25 years.

South Asian Nation Bollywood Superstars

5:30–6:15 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

South Asian Nation’s Bollywood Superstars perform some of the coolest moves to the latest tunes! South Asian Nation is a nonprofit founded on promoting cultural awareness at the local and national levels. South Asian culture continues to dominate headlines with movies, sound tracks, food, dance, and language. We aim to target many of these areas and help to continue to promote the rich culture of South Asia.

Spotlight Talk: Indian Paintings of the Natural World

6 and 7 pm
Lower Rotunda, Level 1

Join Vrinda Agrawal, Ross-Coomaraswamy Collection Graduate Research Intern, to see a masterful painting created in the late 18th-century Kolkata. This new acquisition is among the most brilliant works of art made for British patrons in India.

ASL Interpreter

Welcome Remarks

6:15 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Hear from Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director; and Michael Dwan Singh, Subcontinental Drift (SubDrift); as they welcome you to Diwali!

ASL Interpreter

Kathak: North Indian Classical Dance

6:30 and 8:15 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Dancers from Chhandika Institute of Kathak’s adult and youth ensembles present this dynamic art form of northern India. Be dazzled as this troupe tells ancient stories through sophisticated rhythms, percussive footwork, lush movements, poetry, and music.

SubDrift Community Showcase

6:50–8 pm
Starts outside Gallery 258; ends in Gallery 168

A Baraat, or celebratory procession, leaves from outside Gallery 258 and ends in Gallery 168. 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 @subdriftboston.

The City Talks: What Diwali Means to Me

7–8 pm
Riley Seminar Room, Classroom 156

Join Boston-based creators and cultural innovators across diverse backgrounds as they share their memories and experiences of what Diwali means to them and how they celebrate. With Priya Giri Desai, producer, Prism-Entertainment; Annika Sarin, artist, graphic designer of Sarin Design; Vani Sayeed, principal, Vani Sayeed Studios; moderated by Nitasha Manchanda, host of the podcast The Indian Edit.

ASL Interpreter

Dining Options

Prix Fixe

Enjoy a two- or three-course prix fixe menu at New American Café inspired by Diwali.

View Prix Fixe Menu

Á la Carte

Taste offers special á la carte dishes in partnership with Grub Guru during Diwali.

View Á la Carte Menu

ASL symbol

ASL interpreter

Wheelchair accessible symbol

Wheelchair accessible