PHILADELPHIA, PAâ€”Join the nearly one-sixth of the world's population that celebrates Chinese New Year and ring in (or slither into) the Year of the Snake! Penn Museum celebrates the most important Chinese holiday of the year with our 32nd annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 2, 2013, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. It's a day filled with music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, Feng Shui and folk tale presentations, children's activitiesâ€”and the grand finale lion dance. The festivities are free with Museum admission donation ($12 general admission; $10 senior citizens [65+] and military personnel; $8 students [with ID] and children [6 to 17]; free for children under 6, members, and PennCard holders).
The day's events are rich with the sights, sounds, and wonder of Chinese cultural, musical, and dance traditions. Legendary Chinese folk tales come to life as 4- to 14-year-old girls of the MeiMei Dance Troupe entertain with a patchwork of traditional dances at 11:00 am. Qin Qian and Kurt Jung introduce visitors to the musical spirit of the New Year, performing on traditional instruments and discussing the history of Chinese music, at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm.
The passing on of moral lessons through generations in Chinese culture has long taken the form of telling fables (similar to Aesop's fables). Penn student organization Teaching Chinese @ Penn gives a bilingual presentation of Chinese fables at 1:30 pm. The Greater Philadelphia Minghui School presents dance arrangements showcasing the ethnic diversity of Chinese dance at 2:00 pm.
At 3:45 pm, visitors are treated to the theatrics and high energy of the Grand Finale Lion Dance. The lion dance was created in China centuries ago and lion dancers and drummers from Cheung's Academy use sharp footwork and strong movements to jump and dart like powerful lions during a vigorous drum performance. They wind their way from the inside of the Museum's Harrison Auditorium, and out the main entrance to the Warden Garden (weather permitting) to chase away evil and usher in a year of good luck.
In addition to the many performances, there are opportunities to learn about martial and other arts steeped in tradition, and a varied lineup of presentations and drop-in workshops ongoing throughout the day.
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