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Celebrating New Jersey’s Rich Cultural Diversity

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Celebrating Diwali and Hispanic Heritage Month!

This fall, AARP New Jersey held free, fun and educational virtual events to celebrate New Jersey's diverse culture in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and Diwali.

If you're interested in upcoming virtual events, please view our Events Page here.

Low Section Of Female Dancers During Cinco De Mayo

New Jersey has one of the country's largest South Asian communities, which AARP New Jersey continues to support. We celebrate Diwali (Nov. 2 - Nov. 6), which is the Festival of Lights and celebrated by the South Asian community all across the world. It signifies new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.

Diwali celebration with diya lamps and fireworks

During Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15), AARP New Jersey continued to support Latinos. Latinos are like millions of diverse threads connected through their shared heritage and cultural pride. Individually and collectively they strengthen the fabric of this nation, bringing color, vibrancy, passion and flavor to their communities and beyond. Because of this, AARP is committed to ensuring that Latinos can continue to weave futures filled with salud, dinero y amor.

Hundreds of people participated in one or more of the events listed below - which include Zumba, Latin dance, yoga, and more. Participants also learned about brain health, nutrition or other healthy living tips.

If you're interested in upcoming virtual events, please view our Events Page here.

Preparing for Diwali: Decluttering Presentation

Monday, Nov. 1 | 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
Join us for a series of free virtual events that celebrate Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights. In honor of the first day of Diwali – when celebrants typically clean and decorate their homes – join us on Nov. 1 to learn practical, easy-to-follow tips on downsizing and decluttering.

Diwali Rangoli Art Demonstration

Tuesday, Nov. 2 | 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
Join artist, Ritu Pandya, as she walks participants through an introduction to Rangoli or Mandala art, its history and its significance in the Diwali festival. Ritu will then lead participants through a hands on demonstration on how to draw basic Rangoli patterns using paper and pencil. 

Rangoli art represents the happiness, positivity and liveliness of a household. Rangoli or Mandala is a traditional Indian art of decorating courtyards and walls of houses, places of worship and sometimes eating places as well.

Cooking Class: Healthy Twists on Diwali Favorites

Tuesday, Nov. 2 | 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
During Diwali, celebrants partake in family feasts where sweets, dry jar snacks and gifts are shared. In this virtual class, Chef Neelma Patel will be exploring two of these snacks - with a healthy twist and a focus on dates. Participants will be provided a copy of the recipe.

The cooking demonstration will be followed by a brief presentation from Rachna Singh, registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator with the RWJUH Somerset Diabetes Center for 14 years.

Yoga and Mental Resiliency

Wednesday, Nov. 3 | 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
In honor of the second day of Diwali – when celebrants welcome happiness and remove evil spirits – join us for virtual yoga. Take time to reflect and recharge with chair yoga, gentle poses and breath control techniques that aim to help mental health and focus. We’ll also discuss mental resilience.

Bollywood Zumba Class

Wednesday, Nov. 3 | 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
Zumba Gold is a low-impact, modified, easy-to-follow version of the popular, Zumba dance workout. For this virtual class, we will focus on Bollywood Zumba in honor of Diwali! The moves are broken down in a slow and manageable manner, and choreography focuses on improving range of motion, coordination and balance.

Zumba Gold

Wednesday, Sept. 22 | 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, join us for a virtual Zumba Gold dance class! You’ll learn about ways to support brain health. Then, a Zumba Gold instructor will lead you through a low-impact, modified, easy-to-follow version of the popular, Latin-inspired Zumba dance workout.

Latin Dance

Wednesday, Sept. 22 | 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, join us for a virtual Latin dance class! You’ll learn about ways to support brain health. Then, an instructor will walk through different Latin dance styles, teach you core stylistic moves and break down each movement and rhythmic pattern in an enjoyable way.

Latin-Infused Cooking Class - Brunch

Wednesday, Oct. 13 | 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
Join us for a virtual healthy cooking class! To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Chef Carolina Moratti will lead you through instructions on how to prepare a delicious, healthy, Latin-infused brunch. You’ll receive the recipe via email prior to the event.

Latin-Infused Cooking Class - Dinner

Wednesday, Oct. 13 | 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET
This event is closed.
Join us for a virtual healthy cooking class! To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Chef Carolina Moratti will lead you through instructions on how to prepare a delicious, healthy, Latin-infused dinner. You’ll receive the recipe via email prior to the event.

A Puerto Rican Nurse From New Jersey Celebrates Her Culture and Love for the Latino Community

Gina AARP Family Portrait

Being Puerto Rican is more than just a self-describing noun for Dr. Gina Miranda-Diaz; it’s a way of life and a title in which she takes great pride. As a child growing in New York City, Gina spent the summers in Puerto Rico with her extended family, soaking up the culture and connecting with her roots. It was during her summer trips to the island where Gina learned to speak Spanish and developed a deep love for the language.  

Her appreciation for the Spanish language grew as she went into health care and became a board-certified public health nurse and Health Officer. Her ability to speak Spanish allows Gina to advocate for the well-being of her Spanish-speaking patients by guiding them to make informed medical decisions. Gina’s commitment to helping others goes beyond the walls of her office at the Health Department. She is an active volunteer, dedicating countless hours to serving communities in need, especially in her beloved Puerto Rico.

Gina was invited to participate in AARP’s Vivan Las Voces oral history project, which is dedicated to preserving the diverse stories and experiences of the Latino community, in collaboration with StoryCorps.  

This summer, Gina sat down with her son Alexander to share her love of Puerto Rico and how it inspired her to help the island after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Listen to Gina’s story here.  

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