The celebrations start when darkness falls. A kaleidoscope of saris swirl as drummers play traditional rhythms mixed with modern beats until well after midnight. Asian Indians from around the state will gather in the coming weeks for Navratri, a Hindu harvest festival. The revelry honors the goddess Shakti.
"It's right when harvest happens, kind of an offering to the goddess," said Anil Patel, the president of the Union Township-based India Culture Society.
Hindus celebrate Navratri -- literally "nine nights" -- differently, but all the festivities offer one generation of immigrants the opportunity to share their culture with the next generation.
The Navratri festival is a place where second-generation immigrants can learn their parents' cultural values, according to Patel. "It's like a skill that you learn from your parents," said Patel, whose organization is beginning its annual Navratri festival Saturday in Elizabeth.