Free Activities on February 21 Celebrate Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese New Year Traditions

BOSTON, MA (February 5, 2015)—On Saturday, February 21, 2015, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is offering free admission for all and a full day of festivities marking Lunar New Year—a holiday celebrated across Asia and around the world. From 10 am to 4:45 pm, events and activities include story hour, gallery tours and music. This year, the holiday (which is based on the cycles of the moon) marks the Year of the Goat, one of the 12 animals of the lunar Zodiac. Activities relating to the Zodiac include the opportunity for children to paint their own Zodiac animal on a scroll, and the display of a large wire mobile created by children from the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, one of the MFA’s Community Arts Initiative program partners. Families have the opportunity to try their hand at weaving art with Korean Hanji paper and making Lunar New Year door guardians, in addition to participating in a festive Lion Dance parade and performance by Gund Kwok Asian Women’s Lion & Dragon Dance Troupe. For a look at the Museum’s vast collection of Asian art, 30-minute gallery tours are offered throughout the day. Vibrant floral arrangements can be found around the building, along with Asian-inspired food options at the Garden Cafeteria. For more information on the MFA’s Lunar New Year celebrations, visit Generously supported by the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation. 

Traditional Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese performances during Lunar New Year at the MFA include the sounds of the gayageum (a traditional Korean string instrument) performed by DoYeon Kim and the 3-piece ensemble Hapum Haneun Hama (“Yawning Hippo” in Korean) from the New England Conservatory; a presentation on the Vietnamese celebration of the New Year led by Professor Thanh Tran of Boston College, followed by performances by local poet Tu Anh Phan and zither player Thao Le; and interactive demonstrations of Gong-Fu (a form of Chinese martial arts) and Saebae (a Korean bowing ceremony). 


All activities are free and open to the public

Art Making: Hanji 

10 am–4 pm: Shapiro Family Courtyard 

Visitors learn how to weave their own masterpiece with Korean Hanji paper.  

Art Making: Door Guardians 

10 am–4 pm: Paul and Helen Bernat Galleries (271)

In Lunar New Year traditions, guardians are placed on the fronts of doors on New Year’s Day to keep bad sprits away. Visitors can create their own Lunar New Year guardian door hanger with educators from the Chinese Culture Connection.

Art Making: Ink Scrolls  

10 am–4 pm: Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion

Families can be inspired by animals in the collection and then use ink to paint their Zodiac animal on a scroll.

Community Arts Initiative: Partner Spotlight 

10 am–4:45 pm: Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion 

A large wire sculpture depicting animals from the lunar zodiac was created by children from the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, one of the MFA’s Community Arts Initiative program partners. 

Family Art Cart

10 am–4 pm: Sharf Visitor Center 

The Family Art Cart features activities designed to guide families through the galleries with fun facts, scavenger hunts and games.

Demonstration: Gong-Fu  

10:30–11 am and Noon–12:30 pm: Shapiro Family Courtyard 

An interactive demonstration of Gong-Fu—a form of Chinese martial arts—is performed by children from the Chinese Culture Connection. 

Story Hour

10:30–11:30 am and 1–2 pm: Gallery 285

ASL interpretation at 10:30 am

During Story Hour, children can hear stories about Lunar New Year celebrations from around the world.

Gallery Tours: Arts of Asia

11 am, 11:30 am, Noon, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, and 3 pm: Meet at the Sharf Visitor Center

ASL interpretation at Noon and 2:30 pm

A 30-minute tour featuring masterpieces from the Museum’s Asian Art collections. 

Presentation: Lunar New Year Around the World 

11 am–Noon: Riley Seminar Room 

ASL interpretation

This presentation discusses the many cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year, with a particular emphasis on Vietnam. Led by Professor Thanh Tran of Boston College, his 20-minute presentation is followed by performances by local poet Tu Anh Phan and zither player Thao Le, who will be accompanied by her daughters Cassidy (Thao Vy) and Trinity (Thao Tram) Ngo, as they sing about the coming spring.

Demonstration: Saebae 

11 am–Noon, 1–2 and 3–4 pm: Edward H. Linde Gallery 168

ASL interpretation at 1 pm

A traditional bowing and greeting ceremony practiced in Korea during New Year celebrations demonstrated by members of the Korean Cultural Society of Boston.

Performance: Hapum Haneun Hama 

12:15–12:45 and 2:15–2:45 pm: William I. Koch Gallery (250)

The traditional and contemporary sounds of the “gayageum” are performed with DoYeon Kim and the lively 3-piece ensemble Hapum Haneun Hama (“Yawning Hippo” in Korean) from the New England Conservatory. 

Lion Dance 

12:30 and 2:30 pm parades: Shapiro Family Courtyard and Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art 

1–1:30 pm and 3–3:30 pm performances: Remis Auditorium (Space is limited; first come first served)

A festive Chinese Lion Dance parade through the galleries ends with an interactive performance by Gund Kwok, the only Asian Women’s Dance Troupe in New England. 

Lunar New Year at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is presented In partnership with Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Korean Cultural Society of Boston, Vietaid, and the Chinese Culture Connection. 

The Community Arts Initiative is generously supported by the Linde Family Foundation.

Family Art Cart is made possible with endowment support from the Germeshausen Foundation Fund for Youth and Family Learning, and the John and Dorothy Wilson Fund. Additional support for self-guiding materials provided by The Lowell Institute.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, which includes an estimated 500,000 objects. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–4:45 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–9:45 pm Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.