Beautifully-lit oil lamps, a cheerful exchange of gifts, lavish desserts from ghee-soaked laddoos to nut-studded rice puddings — happy Diwali! The annual five-day festival, Diwali, is one of the most extravagantly celebrated festivals in South Asia. Diwali is widely observed by members of the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain faiths. It usually falls in late October or early November, around the time of the harvest, and coincides with the new moon between the lunar months of Ashwin and Kartika. Oil lamps are lit to symbolize light driving away from the darkness, and people meet each other to exchange gifts and good wishes.
More recently, Diwali has also become a cultural event that is increasingly gaining prominence in the United States. It is a fixture on New York-North New Jersey’s multicultural calendar, celebrated by vibrant South Asian communities. This year, the five-day celebration runs from October 22nd – 26th — with the most important day, Diwali, landing on October 24th. For those curious about Diwali traditions, we have rounded up a list of local fun activities to observe the Diwali festival in the greater Hoboken and Jersey City area.
Please note: These events are included editorially as a community resource. The Hoboken Girl is not affiliate with the following events. For the most up-to-date and accurate information, including cancellations due to inclement weather, please contact the host directly.
House Cleaning + Decorating
In the days leading up to Diwali, celebrants often prepare by deep cleaning and decorating their houses. Legend has it that Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, only graces clean and tidy homes. This year, home cleaning has taken on greater significance, and not only because the pandemic calls for extra attention to sanitation. Decluttering and cleaning also help manage stress and boost mood.
After cleaning, the houses are lit with Diya, or oil lamps — which can be bought at local ethnic markets, such as Apna Bazar Jersey City. Many people decorate their floors with rangoli, intricate patterns made of candles, colored rice, or flower petals. In fact, rangoli-making can be a bonding activity that all family members, including small children, can participate in. Here is a fun guide on how to make rangoli with all-natural dyes.
Indian dance, sweets, and shopping are also all part of traditional celebrations and observations. To see more local traditions regarding Diwali celebrations, check out our article here.
Diwali Lighting at Empire State Building | 20 W 34th Street, New York City
Witness The Empire State Building be lit in traditional Diwali colors. Click here to learn more.
Diwali in Manhattan | 25 First Avenue, New York
October 24th | 6PM – 9PM
Bhakti Center’s Diwali Mela celebration offers traditional Indian musical dance performances, food stalls featuring Indian street food and drinks, henna stall, and more. Registration is free. Click here to learn more.
Diwali 2022 | 10 Riverside Boulevard New York
October 24th | 7PM – 8PM
Join The Culture Tree and Amateur Astronomers Association to celebrate Diwali at Waterline Park. No registration is required. Click here to learn more.
Diwali: A Cultural Celebration | 51 Conforti Avenue, West Orange
October 25th | 3PM – 6PM
This free event will feature authentic Indian cuisine, live music, and family-friendly activities. Click here to learn more.
Diwali Masti 2022 | 1171 King Georges Post Road, Edison
October 29th | 7PM
Myraa Entertainment’s celebration fuses traditional and modern with a DJ, Indian street food, and so much more. Tickets are $70. Click here to learn more.
Sunav Diwali Function 2022 | 200 Penhorn Avenue, Secaucus
October 29th | 4PM – 11PM
Garba Raas will be giving live performances at this event. RSVP is required. Click here to learn more.
Light Up Montclair | 3 S Mountain Avenue, Montclair
October 30th | 2PM – 6PM
AAPI Montclair and Montclair Art Museum (MAM) will host the second annual Light Up Montclair, a Diwali celebration open to the public at Montclair Art Museum — located at 3 South Mountain Avenue in Montclair. Click here to learn more.
Funny Tikka Masala — Hinglish Standup Comedy Diwali 2022 | 176 Bleecker Street, New York
November 5th | 9PM – 12AM
This comedy show features Hinglish (a mix of Hindi in English). Honest NYC is hosting this Diwali celebration with these desi comics, who have performed across the globe and have been on Netflix, Amazon, and comedy clubs across the city. Click here to learn more.