Free

Essential Information

Type Events and festivals
Location
National Maritime Museum
Date and Times Saturday 11 November 2023 | 11.30am-5pm
Prices Free

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!

Image
Image of three dancers dressed in vibrant colours in traditional patterns and shapes

Performances

Rajasthani performance and workshop with Akademi 

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

Image
Image of Tara Kumar wearing a fluffy red hat and a pink bomber jacket against a green background

Story Hour Puppet Theatre 

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.

DJ set by Tara Kumar  

3pm | Great Map 

Head to the Great Map for music DJ'd by tastemaker and Irish-Indian-Malaysian DJ Tara Kumar (pictured).

Image
Child making a diya for diwali using tin foil and pens

Family fun

Diwali diyas

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!

Rangoli workshop

11.30am-4pm | Learning Space | Suitable for all ages and abilities

Join artist Rohit Rajaguru to create your own rangoli to take home.

Beginners yoga

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.

Rajasthani workshop with Akademie 

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!

Image
Image of woman helping another woman put on a green sari, the woman wearing the sari is smiling and happy while the other handles the fabric

Crafts and workshops for adults and young people

Shine Your Light customisation workshop

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!

The Alchemy of Identity

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. 

Future Drape

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.

Image
Image of woman in yoga pose sitting on map with feet touching and arms resting on knees with her eyes closed

Talks 

South Asian connections in our collections 

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.

Art and Spirituality

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.

The Science of Breathwork

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

Image
A group portrait photograph of a number of Asian men and women sitting on a giant map. They are all looking up at the camera

Displays

Pioneers: A Renaissance in South Asian Creativity

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

Rangoli by Rohit Rajaguru

Downstairs in the Sammy Ofer Wing | On display from 9 November

Enjoy a beautiful rangoli designed by Rohit Rajaguru.

Art by Shreena

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

Image
A group of south Asian drummers perform outside the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich at dusk, with a crowd looking on

Lantern parade 

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.

Diwali at the National Maritime Museum

Photograph of a woman standing in front of a pink rose bush. She is wearing a blue sari draped across her left shoulder, and is standing with her hands on her hips, smiling and looking off to the left.
Mehala Ford, founder of COMMONGROUND& (photo © Mathushaa Sagthidas)

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."

Plan your visit

Do I need to book in advance?

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.

How do I get there?

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.

Anything else I need to know?

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.

Tickets and Opening

Saturday 11 November

11.30am - 5pm

  • Greenwich Station
  • Cutty Sark DLR
  • Maze Hill Station
  • Greenwich Pier

Never miss a moment

Sign up to our newsletter and receive all the latest news, stories and events from the National Maritime Museum.

What’s On

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.

SENsory Social Club
Social club hold colourful lights
Family fun | Identity

SENsory Social Club

Join the weekly online club for adults and young people with SEND
Friday during term time| 11am (Online session) or 1pm (Onsite session)
Pay what you can
Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre
Astronomy and Islam
The new crescent Moon alongside an antique qibla compass.
Planetarium shows | Identity

Astronomy and Islam

Join us for a special show featuring the New Crescent Moon and historic Islamic astronomy.
Select Saturdays and Sundays | 10.30am
£10 Adult | £5 Child
Royal Observatory
LGBTQ+ Family Network
Family fun | Identity

LGBTQ+ Family Network

A safe space for local LGBTQ+ families to meet one another, get involved in creative activities for all ages and explore the stories within the collection
16 March 2024 | 10am-12pm
Free
National Maritime Museum
Make, Do and Maintain
Conservator in action
Workshops | Identity

Make, Do and Maintain

Join our community of makers at The Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre
First Saturday of every month | 10:30am-12:00pm
Free (+ £1.00 booking fee)
Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre
Chinese Astronomy
Images of Chinese constellations, the Earth, Moon, Mars, Crab supernova and some spacecraft
Planetarium shows | Identity

Chinese Astronomy

From stars to space exploration, explore ancient and modern Chinese astronomy in this live planetarium show
13 April, 22 June, 17 August, 19 October, 14 December 2024 | 10.30am
Adult £10 | Child £5
Royal Observatory
National Maritime Museum

Visit the National Maritime Museum

Discover epic stories of exploration and endeavour that have shaped our world today

Our partners

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.

Choose your tickets

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.

National Maritime Museum

  • Guaranteed entry time
  • Access to all free galleries and activities
  • Paid exhibitions not included
Free entry
Book online
BOOK NOW
A father and son look through a porthole on the main deck of historic ship Cutty Sark

Become a Member

  • Unlimited entry all year
  • Royal Observatory
  • Cutty Sark
  • Planetarium Shows
  • Special exhibitions
Direct Debit One-off
Individual: £50 Individual: £60
Family: from £60 Family: from £70
JOIN TODAY