News & Politics

The Public Is Invited to Attend the Panda Cub Naming Ceremony on Sunday

The cub itself won’t be seen until January.

The panda cub getting a checkup last week. Photograph courtesy of the National Zoo's Flickr page.

The National Zoo on Sunday will announce the name of the giant panda cub born in August. The ceremony is open to the public, who helped choose the name in an online poll. No reservations are required, but the zoo says space is “extremely limited.”

The date of December 1 was decided by Chinese tradition, which celebrates the name of a new life on the 100th day since birth. The female panda was born on August 23. The chosen name will appear in English and Chinese on scrolls hanging from a 12-foot arch.

The name selection was put to the public in an online vote. The zoo said more than 123,000 votes have been cast for one or the other of five proposed names: Bao Bao, Ling Hua, Long Yun, Mulan, and Zhen Bao. The panda cub itself will not make its first public appearance until January.

Here’s what you need to know if you plan to attend the naming ceremony:

Time: 1 PM

Where: Panda Plaza, between bus parking lot and parking lot B

Who: Scheduled participants are Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Wayne Clough; National Zoo director Dennis Kelly; Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai; and, from the State Department, Kerri-Ann Jones, the assistant secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. A video message from First Lady Michelle Obama is planned.

Additionally: There will be entertainment and food provided by the Chinese Embassy.