Press Release (01/05/12): MOCA Celebrates Lunar New Year in the Month of January

Download a PDF of this press release: English | 中文新闻稿.


[New York, NY] November 21, 2011 – January 23, 2012 marks the 4,710th Lunar New Year, and the Museum of Chinese in America is inviting old and new friends to celebrate the Year of the Dragon with a variety of fun and exciting events.

The ancient character for Dragon resembles a serpent with a prominent whiskered mouth and eyes, which eventually evolved into the modern-day 龍(or 龙in simplified character). Of the twelve animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon is the only creature that is mythical and fictitious in nature. And unlike its menacing and fire-breathing Western counterpart, the Chinese Dragon is a magical and auspicious being, a weather god with a command of water and rain. It is also widely believed that individuals born with this sign share its brave and potent characteristics. No wonder emperors adopted the Dragon as the official symbol of imperial power and the birthrate for this auspicious year is higher than for other zodiac animals.

To welcome the arrival of the Dragon, MOCA is organizing a Prepare for the New Year Walking Tour, which takes visitors through Chinatown to learn about the holiday traditions observed by Chinese households and to witness how the neighborhood transforms itself in preparation for the New Year. In Lunar New Year Talk: Decoding the Chinese Almanac's Predictions for 2012, authors of the popular Pocket Chinese Almanac, Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith, return to tell you your fortune and to share various New Year’s traditions designed to ensure the prosperity of your household. You can also enjoy a full day of family-friendly tours, workshops, lion dancing performances, and arts and crafts during the Lunar New Year Festival Family Day, while learning traditional children’s songs with a modern twist as pianist Dave Liang presents Little Dragon Tales: Chinese Children’s Songs. Mr. Liang is a producer of The Shanghai Restoration Project, an innovative electronic music group that combines traditional Chinese instruments with hip-hop and electronica and whose songs can be heard in numerous television shows, films, and commercials.

“MOCA’s Lunar New Year programs aim to foster a deeper understanding of Chinese American culture and strengthen our connections with the diverse New York community,” said Beatrice Chen, Director of Education and Programs.


Please see below for full program details.


Lunar New Year 2012: Family Drop-in Arts & Crafts
Mon, Jan 2, 9, 16, 23 from 2pm – 4pm

Every Monday in January until Lunar New Year day, come by MOCA's Family Arts & Crafts table and create your own Zodiac Animal Puppet.

Ages 6 and up. All supplies are provided.

Walking Tour: Preparing for the New Year
Saturday & Sunday, January 14-15   11am & 1pm
Saturday & Sunday, January 21-22   11am & 1pm
Saturday, January 28                       11am & 1pm

Lunar New Year is the liveliest and most important celebration in Chinese culture and Chinatown is the place to experience it! MOCA’s walking tour takes visitors through Chinatown to learn about holiday traditions and customs observed by Chinese households. Witness how the neighborhood transforms itself in preparation for the New Year and discover the characteristics that make this holiday unique. Tours are rain or shine, so dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.

Ticket: $20/adult, $15/ student or senior (65+), $8 for MOCA members, Free for children under 5.

Lunar New Year 2012: Simple Asian Meals with Nina Simonds
Wed, Jan 18 from 6:30pm – 8pm

Join Nina Simonds, contributing editor for Gourmet Magazine and James Beard award-winning author of A Spoonful of Ginger and Spices of Life for the launch of her latest cookbook, Simple Asian Meals: Irresistibly Satisfying and Healthy Dishes for the Busy Cook. Simonds will share her insight on the Asian philosophy of foods and their “heating” (yang) and “cooling” (yin) effects on the body, and discuss how this can be integrated into everyday home cooking. Followed by booksigning and reception/tasting.

Ticket: $15 admission; $30 includes book & tasting; free admission for MOCA members. RSVP REQUIRED to

Lunar New Year Festival Senior All Access Day
Saturday, January 21, 10am-5pm

In celebration of Lunar New Year, MOCA offers FREE admission, including the public gallery talks (in English and Mandarin), special programs for seniors 65+ all day.

Admission: FREE for seniors (65+ with valid ID). Visitors accompanying seniors will be charged MOCA’s regular admissions price ($7/adult; $4/student; free for MOCA members and children under 5).

Lunar New Year Talk: Decoding the Chinese Almanac's Predictions for 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012, 2:30pm – 3:30pm

What does the Year of the Dragon hold in store? Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith (co-authors of the Pocket Chinese Almanac) return to decode the almanac’s predictions for 2012 and share a range of New Year’s traditions designed to protect your household.

Admission: $15/adult, $12/student, Free for MOCA members and seniors (65+). Each participant will receive a free copy of the Pocket Chinese Almanac (valued at $7). RSVP required to or 212-619-4785.

Lunar New Year Festival Family Day
Sunday, January 22, 10am-5pm

Join MOCA for a full-day of family festivities in celebration of the Lunar New Year! MOCA will ring in the year of the Dragon with family-friendly tours, workshops, a lion dancing performance, and arts and crafts activities.

Admission: $10 General Admission; MOCA Members and Children aged 1 & under Free

Little Dragon Tales: Chinese Children’s Songs with the Shanghai Restoration Project
Saturday, February 4 1:30pm

Ring in the Year of the Dragon with songs! Join Dave Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project for an afternoon of Chinese children’s songs with a modern twist in celebration of the Year of the Dragon and the release of his new CD, Little Dragon Tales: Chinese Children's Songs, featuring the Yip’s Canada Children’s Choir.

Admission: $7/adult; $4/Child aged 3 & above; Free for MOCA Members and Children aged 2 & under


About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

MOCA’s mission is to celebrate the living history of the Chinese experience in America, to inspire our diverse communities to contribute to America’s evolving cultural narrative and civil society, and to empower and bridge our communities across generations, ethnicities and geography through our dynamic stories.

Our story began in 1980 as the community-based New York Chinatown History Project and we have since grown to encompass the journeys of a wide range of Chinese American communities from around the globe and around the corner. Since late 2009 when we moved into our new beautiful space designed by Maya Lin and located at the crossroads of SoHo and Chinatown, our exhibitions, programs and audiences have grown in size and scope. This was made possible by a unique public/private partnership involving collaborative government efforts to rebuild Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11 and MOCA’s growing community of donors led by its Board of Trustees. For more info and upcoming events, please visit

Monday: 11am-5pm
Thursday: 11am-9pm
Friday: 11am-5pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10am-5pm
The Museum is closed to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, except for prescheduled group tours and special programs.

Target Free Thursdays: Free gallery admission is through the generosity of Target.

General Admission: $7
Seniors (65+ with ID) and Students (w/school ID): $4
Children under 12 in groups less than 8: Free
MOCA Members: Free