We draw on cultural traditions from across Asia in festivals and events that bring the museums to life for visitors of all ages. Immerse yourself in celebrations featuring art, music, theater, dance, and food that highlight local and international artists and communities.

Haft sin table at NowruzNowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration

Sunday, March 11, 11 am–5 pm
Freer|Sackler and Ripley Center
Free and open to the public

Ring in the Persian New Year at our tenth annual Nowruz celebration! With free attractions for all ages, this year’s festival is held in the Freer|Sackler and adjacent Ripley Center. Activities include:

Made possible by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Persian Cultural Celebrations Fund.


Pop-up performance by members of the Silkroad EnsembleThe Buddha’s Birthday with Silkroad Ensemble

Saturday, May 19, 11 am–4 pm
Free and open to the public

Join us for a festive day to celebrate Vesak, an international holiday that commemorates the Buddha’s birth and enlightenment. It is named for the Sanskrit word for the month of May and is celebrated on the full moon, when the Buddha’s mother is said to have given birth to him in a garden in the foothills of the Himalayas. Members of the Silkroad Ensemble will create an atmosphere for contemplation throughout the day, filling the museums with sound as they present excerpts from their new composition inspired by artworks on view. Plus, take special tours of the exhibition Encountering the Buddha, meet Buddhist practitioners from local community groups, and catch the debut of two short films made by the Freer|Sackler Teen Council.