Family-friendly celebrations and engaging activities kick off the year of the rabbit

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) today announced its 2023 MOCA FEST, an annual celebration of the Lunar New Year with free programming for all ages. This Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rabbit, starts on January 22, 2023, and the museum will host family-friendly activities and virtual programming from January 16, 2023 through February 16, 2023. 

“We are thrilled to host our annual MOCA FEST celebrating Lunar New Year, the year of the rabbit, which represents a sign of longevity and peace,” said Nancy Yao, President of the Museum of Chinese in America. “Our diverse and engaging programming offers something for everyone in the family to enjoy. From hands-on, creative activities for young people to educational and thought-provoking panels for parents, we are proud to offer a space for our community to gather and celebrate traditional Chinese culture and rituals right in the heart of Chinatown.”

The popular Lunar New Year Family Festival will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2023, with hands-on activities and workshops for families. To learn more about this year’s MOCA Fest events, please visit – 

MOCAFEST 2023 Event Schedule: 

MOCA CREATE: Lunar New Year Museum Makeover with Teaching Artist Yu Rong, January 14, 2023, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Guests can participate in MOCA’s tradition by making handmade decorations to celebrate Lunar New Year and liven up the museum. Join teaching artist Yu Rong in transforming our space with colorful creations, which will be displayed during our annual Lunar New Year Family Festival!

MOCA KIDS Lunar New Year Meet & Greet with Author Katrina Moore & Illustrator Xindi Yan, January 14, 2023, Time 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm

Children are welcome to join author Katrina Moore for a reading of her new book Grumpy New Year followed by a drawing activity with illustrator Xindi Yan. The activity is best suited for children ages 4-8. Older and younger siblings are welcome. A book signing will follow the reading.

MOCA COOKS with Maggie Zhu: Old Beijing Fried Sauce Noodles and Shredded Potato Salad, January 18, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

All are welcome for a fun virtual session to learn the secrets of cooking delicious Old Beijing Fried Sauce Noodles/Zha Jiang Mian and Shredded Potato Salad. Pulled from the critically-acclaimed Chinese Homestyle: Everyday Plant-Based Recipes for Takeout, Dim Sum, Noodles, and More, these two easy-to-follow recipes were crafted by Maggie Chu, a New York-based blogger, writer, recipe developer, and photographer.

MOCA Pop-Up Fashion Exhibitions at The Winter Show, January 20-29 at the Park Avenue Armory

For this year’s Winter Show 2023 at the Park Avenue Armory, MOCA has curated capsule exhibitions highlighting two of its key collections of fashion and costumes: the remarkable hand-tailored qipaos of Aileen Pei, step-mother of I.M. Pei, who lived through historical epochs in early 20th century China before settling with her family in New York in the 1940s, and the dramatically ornate opera gowns from the Chinese Musical and Theatrical Association, an organization that preserved Cantonese opera in New York’s Chinatown beginning in the 1930s.

MOCA Family Day 2023 Event Schedule

Saturday, January 21, 2023 – 2:30-5:30 p.m.

Performances, Demonstrations, & More!: The Mane Event: A Lion Dance Performance with the United East Athletics Association – LOBBY, 2:45 PM

Kick off the Festival with a dazzling southern lion dance by the United East Athletics Association lion dance troupe. Move to the rhythm of the drumbeat and learn just what it takes to be the head and tail of the lion— you’ll even get to learn a move or two! Following a sneak peek inside the lion costume.

La Mian for Longevity: A Noodle Pulling Demo with Chef Lian – LOBBY, 3:30 PM

Noodles have a long history in many cultures, but the world’s oldest noodles were found in China over 4,000 years ago. Noodles symbolize long life during the New Year. Watch and learn from expert noodle puller Chef Lian, owner of New Spicy Village, as he demonstrates the art of pulling long-life noodles, an especially auspicious New Year’s tradition.

Captivating Confections: A Dragon’s Beard Candy Making Demonstration with Chef Chris Cheung – LOBBY

Legend has it that Dragon’s Beard Candy—a sweet, hand-pulled confection with threads so fine it resembles a dragon’s beard— was invented during the Han Dynasty to entertain and delight the Emperor. Watch as chef Chris Cheung, owner of East Wind Snack Shop and author of Damn Good Chinese Food, stretches sugar into 12,000 fine threads of Dragon’s Beard Candy. Then try a sample to usher in a sweet new year. Books will be available for purchase. A book signing will follow the demonstration. 

Meet & Greet with Author Michele Wong McSween – LEARNING CENTER, 3:30 PM

Hop over to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with Gordon, Li Li, and Brooklyn-based author Michele Wong McSween for a special Mandarin lesson featuring your favorite panda cousins, Gordon & Li Li. Michele will read from her bilingual book, Gordon & Li Li Celebrate Chinese New Year, where children and adults will learn first words in English and Mandarin inspired by the New Year. Think good luck foods, decorations, festive greetings, and more! Best for children ages 3-5. Older and younger siblings are welcome to join. Books and plushies will be available for purchase. A book signing will follow the reading.

Legends Storytime with Ya Ya Preschool – LEARNING CENTER, 4:15 PM

Join this special bilingual storytime with Ya Ya Preschool to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Listen to the legend of the Nian monster in Mandarin and English, and learn why people put up red decorations during Lunar New Year. It’s a perfect opportunity for grownups and children to celebrate the Lunar New Year, sing, and move around with their little ones while picking up a word or two in Mandarin!

Whirling, Twirling Ribbons: Ribbon Dance Workshop – CLASSROOM, 3:30 & 4:15 PM

Watch an elegant ribbon dance by dancer and choreographer Mei-Yin Ng, then craft a simple ribbon of your own and learn how to make it twirl through the air! Audience participation is encouraged.

Sounds of the New Year** – CLASSROOM, 5:00 PM

Delight in the classical sounds of the erhu 二胡 performed by an acclaimed musician from the New York Chinese Cultural Center. Learn the sounds and symbolism of one of the oldest instruments in the world!

The Great Race Gallery Hunt – Meets in the LOBBY

In celebration of the Year of the Rabbit, hop and follow the riddles scattered throughout the gallery to find some of your favorite fluffy friends!

New Year Nibbles* – DOWNSTAIRS RECEPTION, 3:00 – 5:00 PM

Guests can munch on sweet, bite-sized treats while learning how each brings flavor and fortune to the New Year. We’ll also be brewing several types of piping hot tea, which are perfect for Lunar New Year, generously provided by Harney & Sons.

Drop-In Arts & Crafts – 2:30 – 5:30 PM

Lucky Lions – CPC

Shoo away bad luck by creating a traditional lion mask from cardstock, metallic paper, pom poms, and more. Move its eyes and mouth just like a lion dancer!

Red Envelope Art with Teaching Artist Yu Rong – CPC

Every Lunar New Year, kids are gifted red envelopes, or hóng bāo 红包, filled with lucky money or chocolate coins. Make your mark by designing a red envelope to add to our lucky money tree. Don’t forget to add a special new years’ wish for your loved ones.

All Ears – CPC 

Listen up—it’s the Year of the Rabbit! Decorate your big bunny ears in honor of this year’s zodiac animal.

About the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)
The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) aims to engage audiences in an ongoing and historical dialogue in which people of all backgrounds are able to see American history through a critical perspective, to reflect on their own experiences, and to make meaningful connections between: the past and the present, the global and the local, themselves and others.

In 2020, the Museum of Chinese in America was named one of 20 “America’s Cultural Treasures” by a Ford Foundation-led consortium of U.S. foundations and philanthropists to acknowledge and honor organizations that represent the heritage and creativity of communities that have been historically marginalized, underfunded and under-represented in the narrative of American culture.