Family Day: Festival of Lights!

Earlier this month we hosted our fall Family Day, a huge celebration for Diwali, the Hindu New Year (also known as the “Festival of Lights”).  It was truly a day of fun with loved ones and friends.  What better way to spend a Saturday!?  Families participated in Diwali-themed family story tours, searched for light in the galleries, engaged in art-making, enjoyed Himalayan Music in the Spiral Lobby, and watched traditional Indian Bhangra dance performances in the theater (accompanied by some amazing dance skills from our youngest visitors!).

Our Education Center was lively with art-making all afternoon.  Some of the stations included clay lamp making (diyas), fun with light boxes, and, my personal favorite, a giant collaborative rangoli (floor design).

Watching the families work so closely together was one of the most special parts of the day and also a huge part of  Family Programs here at the Rubin.

Family Day

diya making

Making the collaborative rangoli was by far our largest art project…

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We used natural materials like sand, dried flower petals, lentils, and beans to fill in all the spaces.

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Each family made small contributions to this beautiful 10 ft x 10 ft design!  We even had a small ceremony, gathering around the rangoli at the day’s end to celebrate our creation.

Family Day

In the Museum’s Spiral Lobby, some of our wonderful volunteers from JPMorgan Chase helped families make marigold garlands.  Marigolds symbolize passion, creativity, and the golden sunlight…perfect for our Festival of Lights celebration.

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Also in our Spiral Lobby were our musicians, Vincent Polash Gomes (playing the tabla) and Abhik Mukherjee (playing sitar) who played traditional Himalayan music throughout the afternoon.  Many families found that it was a nice spot for relaxing with their children.


Throughout the afternoon families participated in our Family Story Tours.  Our helpful guides (Chantal and Mike) made these fun and engaging experiences for both the children and the adults.

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…some participants showed their amazement more visibly than others.

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Dance performances from NYC Bhangra happened throughout the afternoon in our theater (they were incredible!). The children were all invited on stage for the last half of the performance to learn some Bhangra moves and show them off to their families.

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There were quite a few recognizable faces from Yak Packers and Family Art Labs on the stage.  I never knew what amazing dancers we had in our Family classes!

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The day could not have been so successful without the help from our JPMorgan Chase volunteers, Teen Programs volunteers, interns, performers, photographer (Michael Palma) and wonderful staff here at the Rubin Museum…and let’s not forget all of the families who came out to celebrate Diwali with us!  We hope our family visitors always feel welcomed and appreciated at the Rubin and it’s a great pleasure to host a special day just for them.

I’m already looking forward to our next Family Day on Saturday, March 8th, where we’ll be celebrating Losar, the Himalayan New Year!

*Photo credits: Michael Palma Photography

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