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Great Ways to Celebrate Holi in New Jersey with Kids and Teens

I was born in India and I moved to the United States when I was three. The two main Indian festivals I always looked forward to as a kid were Holi and Diwali. This year, Holi falls on Friday, March 18th and there are many ways to celebrate Holi in New Jersey with kids and teens. Whether you celebrate at home, in your community, or across New Jersey you’ll find there are many Holi activities you can do.

What is Holi?

Holi is most widely known for its celebration where people throw colored powder and water at each other. Holi is a joyous occasion that marks the beginning of spring. It also celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Some people in India celebrate Holi over two days. Their first day is the one before Holi and it is called Choti Holi. For this, a bonfire is lit and this symbolizes the burning of evil things.

A group of young Indians hugging during the Holi Festival, in Jaipur India.

When is Holi?

This year, Holi falls on Friday, March 18, 2022. The date changes each year since it is celebrated on the day of the full moon in March.

Where is Holi celebrated?

Many people think Holi is just celebrated in India but it is actually celebrated in countries all over the world. People celebrate it in Nepal, Pakistan, the United States, the UK, Australia, and more. It is a festival celebrated by people of all ages and religions. In some places, celebrations can last as long as two weeks.

Child having fun with Holi colors.

How can my family celebrate Holi?

There are different ways to celebrate Holi whether it is at home, among friends, or at events in New Jersey. Holi is also a great time to try some Indian foods that are often eaten during this holiday.

Due to the pandemic, there are some events that have still not resumed but we have listed here the ones that will be happening this year. If going to an event or meeting friends to throw colored powder, remember to bring a change of clothes or some drop cloths for your car for the ride home.

Great Ways to Celebrate Holi in New Jersey with Kids and Teens square image

Great Ways to Celebrate Holi in New Jersey with Kids and Teens

Holi Events in New Jersey

These NJ Holi events are listed alphabetically by the name of the town where they will be held. So far, the in-person Holi events we have found are in North Jersey and Central Jersey. If you know of more events to help others celebrate Holi in New Jersey send us an email.

East Brunswick Briar Ridge Holi Celebration

  • Date: March 19, 2022
  • Time: noon
  • Location: Behind 10/12 Winterberry Court at Briar Ridge Estates in East Brunswick.
  • Enjoy a fun Holi celebration with a colorful feast.
  • For more details visit our event listing.

East Rutherford Holi Program on Zoom

  • Date: March 9th, 2022
  • Time: 4:30 to 5:30 pm
  • Location: Zoom through the East Rutherford Library
  • There will be a Zoom program where there will be a story and a craft. 
  • Register at https://bccls.libcal.com/event/8896431
NJ Holi Festival

Edgewater Bollywood Ladies Night Out (Musical Holi)

  • Date: March 19, 2022
  • Time: 8:30 to 11:30 pm
  • Location: Hudson Dance Studio in Edgewater, NJ
  • This is a fun Bollywood dancing workshop on Holi songs. 
  • Tips: Vaccination is required for the event. It is BYOB and Indian snacks will be sold at the event. No Holi colored powders are allowed. 
  • Price: The early bird registration fee is $35 with a $3 fee until March 5th. 
  • For more information and to purchase tickets visit https://events.sulekha.com/bollywood-musical-holi-ladies-night-out_event-in_edgewater-nj_359392
Girls at a Holi Festival

Holi Festival in Edison at Oakcrest Community Pool

  • Date: April 9, 2022
  • Time: 11 am to 2 pm
  • Location: Oakcrest Community Pool
  • Price: Free to $5 per person
  • Food, music, Zumba, and more.
  • For more details visit our event listing.

Edison Holi Hungama

  • Date: March 27, 2022
  • Time: 11 am onwards
  • Location: Akbar Banquet in Edison, NJ
  • Price: $40 for adults and $20 for kids
  • This will be an indoor and outdoor event with unlimited colors, food, dancing and a shopping bazaar.
  • For more details visit the Facebook event listing.

Fair Lawn Holi Celebration

  • Date: March 20, 2022 with Rain Date of March 27, 2022
  • Time: 2 to 5 pm
  • Location: Memorial Park in Fair Lawn, NJ
  • This will be a festival for the community with colored powders being thrown, music, crafts and activities. Masks are encouraged. The event is free. 
  • Tips: Wear white clothes that you do not mind having stained with colored powder. There will be colored powder also available for purchase at the event. 
  • This event is for Fair Lawn residents ONLY. Learn more in our event listing
Holi Festival in New Jersey

Hackensack Outdoor Holi Craft for Kids

  • Date: March 19, 2022
  • Time: 11 am to noon 
  • Location: Hackensack Library 
  • The front law of the library will have a fun and colorful craft. Face coverings are required. 
  • Register at https://bccls.libcal.com/event/8393899

Livingston Make and Take Children’s Craft

Metuchen Family Friendly Holi – Open Air Patio Party

  • Date: March 26, 2022
  • Time: 12 to 4 pm
  • Location: The Brown Stone in Metuchen, NJ
  • This will be a family friendly event that will have thandai drinks at the entrance, free food for children under 12, free white t-shirts and other goodies, unlimited colors and more. Vaccination card is required. Parking is free. 
  • Tips: Wear white clothes that you do not mind having stained with colored powders. 
  • Price: $10 for kids under 12, $15 for kids over 12 and $25 for adults over 21 with service fees as well
  • To purchase a ticket and for more information visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/family-friendly-holi-open-air-patio-party-tickets-275956853377
child at Holi Festival in New Jersey

Plainsboro Celebrate Holi

  • Date: March 17th, 2022
  • Time: Various times between 4 to 6 pm
  • Location: Plainsboro Public Library 
  • Shaving Cream Marbling and Henna- This will be an art activity where families create marbling by using shaving cream on paper. There will also be henna designs given to kids here. 
  • Learn more in our event listing. 

Rutherford Holi Storytime & Craft

  • Date: March 14, 2022
  • Time: 4:30 pm
  • Location: Rutherford Library
  • There will be a Holi Storytime & Craft at the Rutherford Library for ages 5 to 10. 
  • Learn more and how to register in our event listing

South Orange Performing Arts Center Red Baraat Festival of Colors

  • Date: March 11, 2022 
  • Time: 8 pm
  • Location: South Orange Performing Arts Center
  • Red Baraat is a party band that combines bhangra music with funk, punk, go-go and rock for this show that is in celebration of Holi. Their performance is a great way to celebrate Holi since it is a mix of music, dance and visual elements. 
  • Tickets are between $25 to $35 and can be purchased at https://www.sopacnow.org/events/red-baraat-festival-of-colors/
child at Holi Festival in New Jersey

Wallington Holi Workshop for Kids

  • Date: March 12, 2022
  • Time: 2 to 3 pm
  • Location: Wallington John F. Kennedy Memorial Library 
  • There will be a Holi workshop that will include role play, story time and a craft. This is for ages 5 to 10.
  • Learn more and how to register in our event listing
Holi image with bowls of colored powder and a feather

Ways to Celebrate Holi at Home

The main memories of Holi I have from being young are of eating sweets and throwing colored water and water balloons at each other. Here are some suggestions of ways that you can celebrate Holi in your house. Be prepared to get messy!

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Throw some color.

Holi is a festival of colors. People usually wear white and have lots of fun throwing colored powder at each other. Usually, gulal powder is used. The colors also mean different things.

  • Red symbolizes love and fertility.
  • Yellow symbolizes turmeric.
  • Blue symbolizes Krishna
  • Green is the color of new beginnings.

To purchase some of this be sure to visit your local Indian grocery store. Gulal power is also available on Amazon

Throw some water.

The throwing of water is symbolic of cleansing your body and mind. Different ways to do this are dumping buckets of water over people’s heads or throwing water balloons at each other. Some people fill pools with colored water or have fights with water guns filled with colorful water. 

Indian man prepares to spray water during Indian Festival Holi

Read some books

Festival of Colors by Kabir and Surishtha Sengal

This picture book is written by a mother and son. It is about two siblings named Mintoo and Chintoo who gather flowers of various colors in order to make some powder for Holi. This is a great way to show kids the fun celebrations that occur on this holiday. My kids can relate to this since they had gathered marigolds for a class they had at the Rancocas Nature Center in the fall to use for dying some yarn yellow. 

This book is best for ages 2 to 8. 

Buy Festival of Colors on Amazon.

Watch a read-along of the book with one of the authors on YouTube.

Celebrating Holi: A Hindu Celebration of Spring by Sujatha Menon

If your kids are a little older they will enjoy reading Celebrating Holi: A Hindu Celebration of Spring. It delves into more details about Holi celebrations in different places where they do things like throw flowers, have an elephant festival, and more.

There are also some more details about the stories that led to Holi and how many people celebrate the life of Lord Krishna during this time. Celebrating Holi: A Hindu Celebration of Spring also has photos of many of the events that occur so it gives the reader a great overview of the entire holiday. 

Celebrating Holi: A Hindu Celebration of Spring can be purchased online through Ebay, Amazon, or used book stores. It may also be at your local library. 

Teach your kids about colors. 

This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about colors. This is a good time to do a lesson on color mixing or rainbows. Kids can also try and create their own colored powders to throw at home (Ex. turmeric with rice or gram flour can make yellow powder). 

Gulal power

Ways to Celebrate Holi in Your Community

Try some local Indian cuisine. 

There are many different foods and drinks that are popular at Holi.

Delicious, Fresh Special Indian Rusmalai
Delicious, Fresh Special Indian Rusmalai

Polular drinks during Holi

The most well-known drink on the holiday is thandai (milk with almonds and various spices). My favorite drink is mango lassi.

Indian drink- Thandai served cold with almonds, saffron, milk during Holi festival
Indian drink- Thandai served cold with almonds, saffron, milk during Holi festival

Polular food to eat during Holi

My favorite food to eat is papdi chaat, which is a popular appetizer eaten around the holiday.  It is commonly eaten in North India. It is a mixture of papdi (crackers made of fried flour) chickpeas, chutneys, potatoes and yogurt. When you eat it this must be eaten right away so it does not get soggy. Another popular thing to eat is samosa. This is a salty fried pastry with various fillings. My favorite ones have peas and potatoes in them. 

Indian famous Papdi Chaat (Papri Chaat). A yummy snack assorted with crunchy base of Papdi (crisp puris) topped with lip-smacking chutneys, veggies and curd.
Indian famous Papdi Chaat (Papri Chaat). A yummy snack assorted with a crunchy base of Papdi (crisp puris) topped with lip-smacking chutneys, veggies, and curd.

Desserts to try during Holi

There are also many desserts and sweets eaten at Holi.

  • My favorite is rasmalai. It is paneer cooked in a syrup of sugar and then it rests in thickened milk.
  • Another popular holiday dessert is gujiya. This is a sweet dumpling deep fried in ghee and often filled with some dried fruit.
  • Gulab jamun is another popular dessert that is often seen in restaurants. This is made up of fried balls of dough in a sweet syrup.

Often friends and neighbors give sweets to each other during this time. 

Indian Traditional Sweet Food Gujiya or Gujia made during the Holi Festival
Indian Traditional Sweet Food Gujiya or Gujia made during the Holi Festival

Indian Restaurants in New Jersey

  • One of our favorite places to eat is the Palace of Asia in Lawrenceville, Maple Shade, and Kingston. Tasty things to try: Aloo Papdi Chaat, Chicken Tikka, Paneer Kulcha, Garlic Naan, Chicken Makhani, Paneer Masala, Kheer.
  • Another favorite restaurant of ours is Ming for its Indo-Chinese Food. Mind is located in Edison, New Jersey. Tasty things to try: Drums of Heaven, Vegetable Manchurian, American Chopsuey with Chicken, Singapore Noodles, Date Pancakes.
  • Also in Edison is Moghul. Tasty things to try: Buffet, Moghul Bread Basket, Mulligatawny Soup, Murgh Tikka Makhani, Malai Kofta, Murgh Tikka, Kulfi Falooda, Rasmalai.
  • Asian Halal Meat & Kebab House in East Windsor. This location only offers takeout. Tasty things to try: Chole Batura, Shahi Paneer, Chicken Makhani, Chicken Seekh Kebab, Chicken Malai Kebab, Chicken Tikka Biryani.
  • Monsoon in Mount Laurel. We haven’t eaten there but other friends highly recommend it.
  • Cross Culture in Princeton. Tasty things to try: Paneer Tikka, Chicken Cashmere.

Coming soon more recommendations for Indian restaurants to help you celebrate Holi in New Jersey.

Indian Traditional Special Sweet Food Gulab Jamun made with khoya and maida
Indian Traditional Special Sweet Food Gulab Jamun made with khoya and maida

Try cooking some Indian Food

When I was growing up my grandmother would make samosa, gujiya, and shakkar paare for Holi. This month there will be different Facebook Live events where you can learn to try different South Indian recipes through the Bergen County Cooperative Library System. For ingredients needed see the links below. Events will be through Vailabi Talati on Facebook Live. 

Homemade Fried Indian Samosas with Mint Chutney Sauce
Homemade Fried Indian Samosas with Mint Chutney Sauce

Visit Oak Tree Road

Oak Tree Road is also known as Little India by some people and is worthy of a visit as you make plans to celebrate Holi in New Jersey. It is full of shops and restaurants similar to ones that you may find in India. I visited here a lot to purchase items for one of my own wedding ceremonies. Our favorite restaurant to visit is Ming for its Indo-Chinese Food such as American Chopsuey, Vegetable Manchurian and Date Pancakes. We also like Jassi Sweets for its Chole Bhatura. 

Chole Bhatura
Chole Bhatura

Read Little India in Edison to learn more about things you may find there.

Have we inspired you to celebrate Holi in New Jersey? Come back and let us know your favorite part.

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