University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

at the 36th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration Saturday, January 21, 2017

Child with Dragon at Celebration

1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

People born in the year of the Rooster are very observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, talented, and self-confident. Roosters are always active, amusing and popular among the crowd. They are talkative, outspoken, frank, open, honest, and loyal individuals. They like to be the center of attention and always appear attractive.

from The Chinese Zodiac

PHILADELPHIA, PA 2017–Make some joyous noise when you call in the Year of the Rooster at the Penn Museum’s 36th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The festive day features traditional Chinese music, contemporary Asian film and Asian American art, zodiac gallery tours, tangram workshops, tai chi, falun gong and kung fu martial arts demonstrations, calligraphy, family crafts and much more—with the grand finale drums and the roar of the lion dance and parade. Activities are held in the Museum’s Rotunda, which houses one of the finest collections of monumental Chinese art in the country, and throughout the international galleries of the Museum.

New this year, the Philadelphia Asian Film Festival and the Asian Arts Initiative partner with the event, providing a taste of contemporary Asian and Asian American media and arts, while Chinese for Families returns to offer a rich hour of programming. The Epoch Times, with a Chinese edition which boasts the largest circulation among Chinese media in the United States, is media sponsor for the event.

The Celebration is the second in the Museum’s popular World Culture Day series. Families can pick up a Passport to Cultures upon arrival, or bring one they’ve started, and collect stamps to earn an invitation to a special Penn Museum Junior Anthropologist ceremony.

The Chinese New Year Celebration, one of Philadelphia’s oldest, is free with Museum admission donation ($15, general admission; $13, seniors [65+]; $10, children [6-17] and full-time students [with ID]; $2 ACCESS Card holders; free to children under 5, members, active U.S. Military, STAMP and PennCard holders).


Based on the changing lunar calendar Chinese New Year is celebrated on a different day each year; in 2017, the official date is January 28 (Penn Museum gets an early start on the festivities). Traditional Chinese element theory assigns one of five elements to each year of every zodiac sign: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth, and in 2017, Fire is the element associated with this Year of the Rooster. The Fire Rooster is said to be the most dramatic and energized of all the Rooster signs, living life in enthusiastic, dynamic bursts, and comfortable taking risks. Comedians Bernie Mac (died in 2008) and Fran Drescher were both born in the Year of the Fire Rooster.

Stephen Lang, Keeper of the Asian Section, hosts a special collection viewing from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, featuring selections from a set of twelve rubbings of stone reliefs showing the East Asian zodiac animals at the Gyeongju, Korea tomb of General Kim Yusin (595-673), known as the hero of the Silla Kingdom.

At noon and again at 3:00 pm, families can take an interactive “zodiac” tour of the galleries, in search of artifacts featuring the twelve animals that make up the Chinese zodiac.


Chinese for Families, a local language school offering fun interactive classes, joins with a program for all ages at 11:00 am. Guests will meet some of the Chinese for Families young students and learn about Chinese New Year, the Chinese Zodiac, and Chinese language and archaeology through short films and interactive games.

Chinese painting instructor Onlei Annie Jung leads a drop-in Chinese calligraphy class from 11:30 to 12:30 pm. At 2:00 and again 3:15 pm, she offers a separate workshop about the seven tans of the tangram, an ancient Chinese puzzle game believed to have been invented in China during the Song Dynasty, and introduced in Europe in the early 19th century.

Traditional Chinese culture—and its renaissance via the internationally acclaimed Shen Yun dance and music show—is the subject of a short program by Dr Frank Cui of the Greater Philadelphia Falun Dafa Association at noon.

Local musician and instructor Kurt Jung and Qin Qian perform modern and traditional Chinese melodies on the erhu (Chinese two-string fiddle) and the yangchin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) at 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm. Mr. Jung also discusses the role of music in ancient Chinese society in these sessions. Also at 2:00 pm, the Chinese Arts Center in Philadelphia offers an instrumental program.

New this year, the Philadelphia Asian Film Festival (PAAFF) offers a quartet of short films, curated and introduced by Festival Director Rob Buscher: Zodiac Run (dir: Gabrielle Silva, 2015); Where East Meets West (dir: Peilin Kuo, 2014); Noodle Deli (dir: David Liu, 2016); and Finding Cleveland (dir: Larissa Lam, 2015). The short program is offered at 2:00 pm. PAAFF is a volunteer-run nonprofit film festival working to celebrate and elevate the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience through cinema.

Throughout the day, a Chinese Art Marketplace provides activities for families, including a Year of the Rooster craft station, materials from regional vendors, and a calligraphy station. Philadelphia’s Asian Arts Initiative, a multidisciplinary arts center that uses art as a vehicle to explore the experiences of Asian Americans, shares information about their work. New York-based artist Emily Chow Bluck, currently in residence at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia as their 2016-2017 Dina Wind Art as Catalyst Fellow, shows work from two of her series: Who’s Who, featuring the faces of people living in Chinatown today, and Market Authentics about aesthetic nostalgia, the search for authenticity, and food culture in the U.S., East, and Southeast Asia.

The Pepper Mill Café joins the festivities by offering a selection of Chinese lunch entrées and kid-friendly foods.


In the Penn Museum’s China gallery, guests can explore extraordinary artistic achievements of the Chinese people through artifacts including jade and coral figurines, bronze vessels, monumental stone sculptures, and glazed pottery. Also on view, the Museum's distinctive 19th-century crystal ball—the centerpiece of the rotunda—as well as renowned Chinese Buddhist sculptures.


In China, tai chi is categorized as a martial art applied with internal power. Focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity. Sifu John Chen and his students from the Ba'z Tai Chi and Kung Fu Studio offer an interactive workshop at 1:30 pm. At 2:30 pm, guests can join Falun Gong practitioners from the Greater Philadelphia Falun Dafa Association for sets of gentle and relaxing exercises.

Members of Cheung's Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy offer a dynamic, Shaolin-style Kung Fu demonstration at 3:30 pm, then treat visitors to the sharp footwork and pulsating drums of a spectacular Grand Finale Lion Dance to chase away evil and usher in good luck for the year.

Chinese New Year Schedule of Events:

11:00am Chinese For Families Program
11:30 – 12:30 Drop in Calligraphy Class
12:00 Family Zodiac Tour of the Penn Museum
12:00 Lecture on Traditional Chinese Culture and Shen Yun performance
12:30 Chinese Music Demonstration and Performance
1:30 Tai Chi Workshop
2:00 – 3:15 Tangram Workshop
2:00 Chinese Music Demonstration and Performance
2:00 Performance by Chinese Arts Center Program
2:00 Philadelphia Asian Film Festival Short Films Program
2:30 Falun Gong Demonstration
3:00 Family Zodiac Tour of the Penn Museum
3:15 Kung Fu Demonstration
4:00 Lion Dance Finale

Throughout the day- Crafts, vendors, calligraphy demonstration.

The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.

The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.

Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop offers a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.

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