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Family Sundays

Diwali Celebration & Dazzling Diyas

Sunday, November 5, 2023
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Sold Out

Ages 3 and older with accompanying adults

Join us for Family Sundays at the Rubin! Bring your family to the Mandala Lab on the third floor for an afternoon of creativity and self-exploration that both kids and grown-ups can enjoy.

In honor of Diwali, a holiday that celebrates light overcoming darkness, there will be a series of special programs at this Family Sunday. 



1:00–3:00 PM

Dazzling Diyas art-making activity ongoing in the Mandala Lab (see below for more details)

1:00–2:00 PM

A special book reading by children’s book author and illustrator Navina Chhabria of her new release, Raaga’s Song: A Diwali Story in the theater followed by a dance performance and workshop with Mei Gumbs. The dance performance will be accompanied by a spirited reading of My Diwali: Lights of Virtue by children’s book author Priya Kumari

After the reading and workshop, join us for a book signing with authors Priya Kumari and Navina Chhabria and a guided visit to the sculpture of Ganesha with Anu Sehgal, the founder and president of The Culture Tree

Please choose a 1:00 PM Family Sunday ticket to reserve your spot for the theater program.

3:00–3:30 PM

Free mithai (a traditional Indian sweet) tasting in the café with Chef Surbhi of TAGMO



This November, the festival Diwali, which originated in India and celebrates light overcoming darkness, will be officially celebrated in over 10 countries worldwide. Luminous lamps line the streets to usher light and blessings into temples and homes. This month, reflect on the light you bring to the world as you sculpt your own radiant diya (lamp), illuminated with LED lights. 


Headshot of Anu Sehgal

Anu Sehgal is the founder of The Culture Tree, a cultural literacy and language education program. She lives in New York with her husband and her two sons. She is a marketer by profession. She holds an MBA from Yale University and has worked in the corporate sector for almost 15 years. Anu believes awareness of one’s heritage, culture, and language is key for children to become self-aware and confident individuals.

Story Time is presented in partnership with The Culture Tree, an organization that provides South Asian–themed educational and cultural programs that enrich the lives of children and their families and promote a deeper connection with their roots and the world around them.


Headshot of Navina Chhabria

Navina Chhabria is an illustrator, based in Michigan. She discovered a calling for illustration in a previous life, while leading a design team at a tech company. She went on to get her degree in graphic design from Billy Blue College of Graphic Design in Sydney, Australia. 

Navina has been working as an illustrator since 2018. Her work can be described as warm, friendly, charming, and fun. Navina’s love of color and strong female characters are a definite nod to her Indian heritage.  Her areas of focus are children’s illustration and editorial work revolving around the themes of women, food, and lifestyle. 

When she’s not tucked away in her studio, you will find her cooking Indian food, dancing to Bollywood music, or curled up with a book and a hot cup of masala chai.


Headshot of Priya Jumari

Priya Kumari is a multi-award-winning children’s author and the founder of Eternal Tree Books. Her mission is to publish uplifting books from underrepresented Indian/Asian cultures—diverse stories promoting peace education, emotional hygiene, science of well-being, and cultural competence. Born and raised in the scenic foothills of the Himalayas, she inherited her love of reading and passion for the written word from her father, who owned a bookstore. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tai Situpa, Sharon Salzberg, Lokesh Chandra, Hema Malini, and Ved Nanda have praised her books. Priya lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two sons.


Headshot of Mei Gumbs

Mei Gumbs is a children’s apparel and graphic designer by trade, but dance has always been her first love. Growing up in Chennai, India, she trained in classical Indian Bharatanatyam from an early age. She went on to gain experience performing both classical and folk dances of India. Later, when she moved to New York to pursue a career in design, she added Latin and international styles such as New York and Cuban style salsa, mambo, tango, and East and West Coast swing to her repertoire.

Mei lives with her husband and 10-year-old in Brooklyn. As a mother raising her mixed race child far away from her native land, she loves the opportunity as a dance educator to share the ancient Indian arts and culture with the young and curious minds of future generations.


Photo by Filip Wolak


Mandala Lab and Family Sundays are made possible with lead support from the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Barbara Bowman, Fred Eychaner, Noah P. Dorsky, Agnes Gund, The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Global, the Estate of Lisina M. Hoch, The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, Rasika and Girish Reddy, Shelley and Donald Rubin, and Tiger Baron Foundation.

Major support is provided by Bob and Lois Baylis, Sara and Joseph Bedrick, Anne and Albert Chao, Con Edison, Daphne Hoch Cunningham and John Cunningham, Anne E. Delaney, DeWitt Stern, Karen Dorsky, Chris K. Jones, Think Strong Scholarships, Jack Lampl, Max Meehan, Dan Gimbel of NEPC, LLC, The Prospect Hill Foundation, Sarah and Craig Richardson, Basha Frost Rubin and Scott Grinsell, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Namita and Arun Saraf, Linda Schejola, Eric and Alexandra Schoenberg, Eileen Caulfield Schwab, Tsherin Sherpa, Jesse Smith and Annice Kenan, Taipei Cultural Center in New York, and New York Life Insurance Company*, and New York Life.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

The Rubin Museum’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

We additionally thank the generosity of 223 sponsors and donors who contributed to our 2020 gala, Inside the Mandala: A Virtual Gala.


*”NEW YORK LIFE” and the NEW YORK LIFE Box Logo are trademarks of New York Life Insurance Company. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Reservations are required for the 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM time slots.


The program is free for your family, and each ticket comes with free access to the Museum galleries.


Each month we explore a new theme, with an art-making activity centered around that theme. A Museum educator does a brief demonstration of the project, teaches the art-making techniques, and lets you explore ways to make the project your own.