Penn Museum

Celebrate “CultureFest! The Year of the Rabbit, Lunar New Year” at the Penn Museum, Saturday, January 21

Penn Museum

In partnership with the American Chinese Museum, the Penn Museum hops into the Year of the Rabbit with its 42nd Annual "CultureFest! Lunar New Year," on Saturday, January 21, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A family-friendly festival designed for everyone to learn more about diverse cultural traditions, CultureFest! Lunar New Year features live music and dance performances, storytelling, artmaking for all ages, and a marketplace filled with vendors. It culminates with a grand finale, a traditional Lion Dance.

Lunar New Year begins with the first new moon and ends 15 days later, on the first full moon. It is an important festival in China and many other Asian countries, explains Li L. Edwards, the Executive Director of the American Chinese Museum.

“We also call it ‘Spring Festival,’ which means the beginning of spring and a new round of agricultural production,” Edwards says. “The customs of celebrating Lunar New Year include pasting Spring Festival couplets (poetry lines about health and prosperity) onto front doors; buying New Year’s goods; and having family dinners."

The lineup of CultureFest! Lunar New Year activities includes:

  • 10:30 AM -  Little Mulan Dance Troupe – a dance performance from the Great Wall Chinese School in the Harrison Auditorium
  • 11:45 AM - Storytelling about Lunar New Year in the Sphinx Gallery
  • 1 PM - Musical performance with traditional Chinese instruments like the zither and ehru, a two-string, violin-like instrument played with a bow at noon in the Egypt Gallery
  • 2:30 PM - Live performance from the Philadelphia Chinese Opera Society in the Harrison Auditorium
  • 3:45 PM – Traditional Lion Dance finale, performed by the University of Pennsylvania’s premier lion dance troupe, Penn Lions in the Harrison Auditorium

“Since 1981, CultureFest! Lunar New Year has grown to be one of our most popular events,” says Tena Thomason, Associate Director of Public Engagement at the Penn Museum. “As part of the Museum’s mission in fostering cross-cultural understanding, we welcome everyone to learn more about this holiday that began as a time to rest from farm work and to be with loved ones.”

All "CultureFest! Lunar New Year" activities are included with Museum admission. Children ages five and under, teachers, U.S. military veterans with identification, as well as Penn Museum members visit for free.

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