Penn Museum Welcomes in the Year of the Sheep
According to Chinese tradition, people born in the year of the sheep are tender, wise, and polite, with an affinity for art and beauty, and a preference for quiet living. The zodiac foretells that these people should play sports, avoid eating too much greasy food, and set an aquarium in the western or northern side of their home to encourage wealth. Celebrities born in the year of the sheep include Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Mick Jagger, Anderson Cooper, and Norristown native Maria Bello.
— from The Chinese Zodiac
PHILADELPHIA, PA—Help shepherd in the Year of the Sheep at the Penn Museum’s 34th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 31, 2015, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The daylong extravaganza features traditional music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, a special focus on Chinese health and wellness practices, calligraphy demonstrations, vegetable carving, family crafts and tours, even a Chinese marketplace. As always, the celebration concludes with a drum roll and a roar—the grand finale lion dance. The celebration, one of the oldest in Philadelphia, 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).
CHINESE HEALTH AND WELLNESS
In recognition of the University of Pennsylvania’s Year of Health, this year’s celebration offers several opportunities to connect with Chinese health and wellness practices and philosophies. Beginning at 11:45 am, Dr. Jun Mao, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and an expert on the integration of complementary and alternative medicine, speaks about the science and art of acupuncture. Throughout the day, guests are invited to receive personal natural health consultations with Dr. Qingyao Shi, a licensed acupuncturist, and Doctor of Oriental Medicine at Acupuncture Medical Practice. Screenings include pulse checks, as well as energy and meridian evaluations to assess qi, the body’s self-healing ability.
DANCE PERFORMANCES AND MORE
Other special presentations throughout the day bring the sights, sounds, and wonders of China to the Museum in time to join the nearly one-sixth of the world’s population in celebrating the traditional Chinese New Year from February 19 to March 6, 2015.
From 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, Philadelphia’s renowned Master Chef Joseph Poon, presents his fruit and vegetable carving techniques, such as sculpting a watermelon rind into Elvis Presley’s likeness or creating a lemon pig, in an interactive and energetic demonstration.
The Greater Philadelphia Minghui School performs choreography highlighting the ethnic diversity of Chinese dance at 11:30am. The dance showcase continues at 1:30 pm, featuring the award-winning Great Wall Chinese School Little Mulan Dance Troupe’s performance of traditional and folk dances of China, and the Penn Chinese Dance Club’s Chinese classical dance with long sleeves and folk dance with fans.
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. Throughout the afternoon, visitors can try the fluid and mindful movements of various Tai Chi styles and Falun Gong. Practitioners from the Chinese School of South Jersey lead the day’s first Tai Chi session at 11 am. Then at 1 pm, Sifu John Chen and his students from the Ba’z Tai Chi and Kung Fu Studio showcase the explosively powerful movements of Chen Tai Chi. At 2:30 pm, guests can join Falun Gong practitioners from the Greater Philadelphia Falun Dafa Association for sets of gentle and relaxing exercises.
Guided family tours depart at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, winding through the Museum’s international galleries to discover and discuss the 12 animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac. From 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, University of Pennsylvania East Asian Languages and Civilizations graduate student Gabrielle Niu leads a drop-in tour of the China Gallery.
At 12:15 pm, students from the Chinese School of South Jersey present Mulan Boxing, and Kung Fu Fan, a series of slow motion exercises designed to improve women’s strength and poise.
Qin Qian and local musician and instructor Kurt Jung perform traditional and modern Chinese melodies on the erhu (Chinese two-string fiddle) and the yangchin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) at 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm. Kurt also discusses the role of music in ancient Chinese society.
Chinese painting instructor Onlei Annie Jung leads a drop-in calligraphy workshop at 11:00 am and 12:30 pm to demonstrate basic stroke techniques for guests, then returns at 2:00 pm to explain 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.
Museum guests can also enjoy a sneak peek inside Shen Yun performing arts’ 2015 show highlighting the ensemble’s graceful interpretations of ancient Chinese legends that draw Philadelphia audiences year after year.
Members of Cheung’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy offer a dynamic, Shaolin-style Kung Fu demonstration at 3:00 pm. Then, at 3:45 pm, visitors are treated to the sharp footwork and pulsating drums of the spectacular Grand Finale Lion Dance to chase away evil and usher in good luck for the year.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY
A Chinese Art Marketplace provides activities for children and families. From 11:00 am to 3:30 pm, visitors can enjoy demonstrations by local painters and artists, including Chinese calligraphy and paper cutting. Families can also create a Year of the Sheep craft and learn more about Chinese New Year traditions, the growing trend of Spring Festival among younger generations, the legend of the Chinese zodiac, and see the artistic achievements of the Chinese with artifacts including silk paintings, jade and coral figurines, bronze vessels, stone sculptures, and glazed pottery. Guests can also view the Museum’s distinctive 19th-century crystal ball—believed to be from the imperial collection of Qing dynasty Dowager Empress Cixi. She was born in a year of the Sheep, as was Emperor Taizong, whose favorite horses, Curly and Autumn Dew are depicted in stone reliefs located in the China Gallery.
The Pepper Mill Café joins the festivities by serving Chinese lunch entrées and kid-friendly foods.
The Epoch Times is the media sponsor of the 34th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration at the Penn Museum. The Celebration is the third in the Museum’s World Culture Day series.
CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION 2015 SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
11:00 am – Tai Chi with the Chinese School of South Jersey
In the China Gallery
Pepper Mill Café
About the Penn Museum
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. Open select holiday Mondays. Museum 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 Penn Museum Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.
Hot and cold meals and light refreshments can be purchased with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café. The Penn Museum can be found on the web at www.penn.museum. For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183