Well, I had the same problem. I started learning React and Node.js after exploring in-depth Django, with all its automation and out of the box provided features. Also recently, I was wondering what it could be the best option for user authentication, and I came up with Single Sign-On (SSO), OAuth & OpenID Connect. I found that they are used by most big companies and organizations. Unfortunately, things are not as easy as with Django, but there are much more modern, secure, scalable, and the following library is used by most of the developers nowadays. So, I would recommend you to use a library called Passport.js. It is really nice, easy to learn, friendly for the developer and of course it is the primarily library for user authentication in Node.js.
Its philosophy is to provide various strategies for developers and applications. A strategy is an authentication mechanism. For example, local authentication (with sessions & cookies) or something like Facebook / Google login. Last but not least, I prompt you to watch multiple tutorials about Passport.js on YouTube and make comfortable yourself with the OAuth & OpenID Connect protocols, as well as with JWT and how authentication can be implemented without sessions.
*You should always handle authentication in the backend, for security purposes.
I hope that helps! Please let me know if you need more help.