National Museum of Asian Art to Hold Lunar Festival Feb. 3

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art has announced its 2024 family festival commemorating Lunar New Year, a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar. The event takes place Feb. 3, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

This year’s Lunar New Year festival will celebrate the year of the dragon. It will consist of performances, talks, tours, hands-on activities and more. The full schedule is available online. The museum also offers many resources to learn about Lunar New Year on its website such as virtual tours of related collections, lesson plans and webinars.

The National Museum of Asian Art began its centennial year in January 2023 with a Lunar New Year festival attended by more than 6,500 people with another 700 joining a lion dance performance on the Freer Plaza.

The 2024 event is copresented by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam Society and the Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C.

About Lunar New Year

Commonly known as the Spring Festival in China, Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration marked by many traditions. The Lunar New Year’s Eve reunion dinner is the highlight that kicks off the holiday, a feast with a spread of symbolic dishes, such as a whole fish representing abundance, that bring good luck and fortune. The 15th and final day of the holiday is the Lantern Festival, during which people have tangyuan, or sweet glutinous rice balls, and children carry lanterns around the neighborhood at night to mark the end of the celebration.

In the Chinese zodiac, 2024 is the year of the dragon. Different regions across Asia celebrate Lunar New Year in many ways and may follow a different zodiac. Many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do not observe the Chinese/lunar zodiac.

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