Experience the Festival of Lights at the National Maritime Museum
Join us at the National Maritime Museum for a fantastic family-friendly celebration of Diwali, featuring free live performances, workshops, talks, a lantern parade and more.
We've once again teamed up with Mehala Ford, founder of south Asian arts collective COMMONGROUND&, to curate this year's celebrations.
All events on the day are free. You can book Museum tickets in advance to guarantee entry, or simply turn up and join in. See what's on below, with more details announced soon.
Plus, watch the highlights of our spectacular Diwali 2022 event below, to get a flavour of the fun you can expect this year!
2pm | Great Map | Suitable for all ages and abilities
Akademi will be performing and leading an interactive workshop of folk dances from Rajasthan in North-Western India. Rajasthan is known for its glorious royal history, bright colours and ancient creative arts set beautifully against the backdrop of the Thar desert.
The folk music and dances from this region, mostly originating in the local tribes, are a vital part of Rajasthan’s cultural heritage and were mainly used to entertain kings and other royals. Folk songs are commonly ballads narrating heroic deeds and love stories, and religious or devotional songs.
The three artists will give you a glimpse of Ghoomar, Chirmi and Terahtaali forms of dance in this high-energy show. And that’s not all, you'll have the opportunity to learn a few moves yourself and practice them to the music!
Photo by Christopher Wilton-Steer
11.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm | Lecture Theatre
Come and watch a screening of Story Hour Puppet Theatre's Diwali story, and get the chance to meet the puppets and puppeteers too.
3pm | Great Map
Head to the Great Map for music DJ'd by tastemaker and Irish-Indian-Malaysian DJ Tara Kumar (pictured).
11.30am-3.30pm (last entry 3.15pm) | Rethink Space | Suitable for all ages and abilities
Diyas are traditional light holders used in Diwali celebrations. In this workshop you can make a lantern for the sunset Diwali lantern parade in the Museum grounds. Don't forget to bring your own electric tealight or buy one from our shop to light up your creation!
11.30am-4pm | Learning Space | Suitable for all ages and abilities
Join artist Rohit Rajaguru to create your own rangoli to take home.
12pm | Great Map | Suitable for all ages and abilities
Join Angie Tiwari for a beginner yoga session under the sky. This is open to all levels incorporating movement, meditation and breathwork.
We recommend wearing something comfortable that you can move freely in. Yoga mats will be provided and set up for you, so just bring yourselves and an open mind!
No previous experience is necessary, no specialist clothing needed and a seated alternative is available.
2pm | Great Map | Suitable for all ages and abilities
If watching Akademie's dancers has got you inspired, join their Rajasthani folk dance workshop and give their moves a go yourself!
11.30am-4pm | Propeller Space | Suitable for young people aged 11+
Come along to a customisation workshop inspired by Diwali and focusing on positive affirmations. Come and shine your light!
12-1pm and 3-4pm | Group Space | Suitable for adults
Inspired by a transpersonal exploration of cultural heritage through creative imagination, poetry, art and collage, create your own personal 'identity flag' reflecting how all your cultural influences come together.
2-3pm | Group Space | Suitable for adults
Mehala Ford, founder of Friday Sari Project Store, will teach you modern sari drape and styling. Bring your own sari along or borrow one to join in.
11.30am-12.30pm and 2-3pm | Sammy Ofer Wing | Drop-in
Join a Royal Museums Greenwich curator to see fascinating images from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and beyond. See art and photography from our collection that isn’t currently on display or available online yet.
12.30-2pm | Lecture Theatre
Shreena Patel, an award-winning abstract artist from London, will be delivering a presentation on Diwali from an artistic perspective. Her talk will explore colour theory and the profound connections between art and spirituality. Drop in at any time.
1.30pm | Lecture Theatre
Join Angie Tiwari (pictured) for a talk on how she got into yoga and how to utilise your breath to completely change your life.
She will share the power behind our breath, and techniques you can take away to reduce stress, improve your sleep and boost your digestion.
Image courtesy of Angie Tiwari
Great Map | All day
As part of Royal Museums Greenwich’s first celebration connected to South Asian Heritage Month, the Museum commissioned Mehala Ford, founder of CommonGround&, to respond to the representation of South Asian history and culture in the National Maritime Museum.
The result is a series of portraits of South Asian creative individuals, photographed around historic Greenwich, which are now on display.
From musicians and artists to writers, entrepreneurs, directors and designers, all these people are pioneers: breaking new ground and inspiring a renaissance in South Asian creativity.
Learn more about Pioneers
Downstairs in the Sammy Ofer Wing | On display from 9 November
Enjoy a beautiful rangoli designed by Rohit Rajaguru.
Screens throughout the Museum | All day
Explore beautiful abstract deities and contemporary pieces by Shreena Patel displayed on digital screens at the Museum.
Photo by Alia Romagnoli
4pm | Departing from the Parkside entrance of the Museum
As the sun sets, join an outdoor parade accompanied by Rhythm N Bass drummers.
The parade will weave through the Museum's grounds, ending with an alternative pop performance by NEO 10Y who will manifest peace and love, and build a collective connection to close the National Maritime Museum's celebration of the Festival of Light.
The parade will have level access, but with some incline. Please bring your own lanterns and electric lights or torches only.
The National Maritime Museum is again teaming up with Mehala Ford, founder of south Asian arts collective COMMONGROUND&, to curate this year's Diwali celebrations.
"Diwali is a festival that celebrates new beginnings, wealth and prosperity and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. It is observed around the world by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains," she explains.
"Shared rituals and ceremonies, such as those that take place at Diwali, can offer us a sense of belonging. New rituals and ceremonies are emerging and old ones are being revised to include people who do not identify themselves as traditionally religious, bringing people together based on a sense of community, rather than shared religious beliefs."
This year's theme is Shine Your Light: a chance, in Mehala's words, "to celebrate the light within all of us, highlighting creativity, joy and well-being."
All events on the day are free. You are welcome to book free National Maritime Museum tickets in advance (select 11 November using the tickets calendar), or just turn up on the day - find out more about planning your visit here.
The National Maritime Museum is a quick, easy journey from central London, and right in the heart of historic Greenwich. Check this page for more information about arriving by public transport or by car.
You can find a free map here to help guide you round the National Maritime Museum when you arrive.
Please make sure to bring torches or electric tealights if you want to light up your diyas during the lantern parade: no open flames are allowed within the Museum or grounds.
The Great Map and surrounding area may be quite loud during live performances. If you struggle with loud noises, you can borrow ear defenders from our Welcome desk or ask staff to direct you to a quieter area.
Saturday 11 November
11.30am - 5pm
Sign up to our newsletter and receive all the latest news, stories and events from the National Maritime Museum.
Diwali: Shine Your Light is part of the Season of Identity at Royal Museums Greenwich, exploring how Britain’s global connections and identities have shaped who we are today.
COMMONGROUND& offers a showcase for South Asian creatives across a broad range of disciplines. The collective allows artists and creatives of South Asian heritage to express themselves and show their work.
All events on the day are free. You are welcome to book free National Maritime tickets in advance to guarantee entry, or just turn up on the day - find out more about planning your visit here.