The Year of the Dragon: Music to celebrate the Lunar New Year

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Lion dancers with Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu march into China Jade Restaurant during Lunar New Year festivities at Federal Boulevard’s Far East Center. Feb. 5, 2022.

In China, it’s often referred to as the Spring Festival. In Mongolia, it’s Tsagaan Sar. Vietnam, it’s called Tết Nguyên Đán. February 10, 2024 marks the start of the Lunar New Year for about 2 billion people, including populations in China, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. This two-week celebration focuses on starting the New Year full of happiness and prosperity with food, traditions, symbolism and time with family. CPR Classical is honoring the date with a special edition of Essential Saturdays on February 10. Check out some of the traditions and symbolism we’re celebrating through music:

Food - Fish & Oranges:

Many traditions of the Lunar New Year originate in language. The word for “fish” sounds similar to the word for “surplus” in Mandarin, and eating a whole fish during the New Year is said to bring prosperity with it in the year ahead. Oranges are shared for a similar reason; the word for “orange” sounds like the word for “luck.”

Anonymous - "Fisherman’s Song"
Chen Yi - "Fisherman's Song by Moonlight"
Kosaku Yamada - "The flowers of wild orange

From the Year of the Rabbit to the Dragon:

Farewell to the Year of the Rabbit, welcome to the Year of the mighty Dragon. According to legend, the order of the animals was said to be determined by a race. Rabbit and dragon came fourth and fifth, after the dragon helped the rabbit across the river and the finish line. 2024 is not only the year of the dragon but a year represented by the element of wood. The Wood Dragon is thought to bring change passion, confidence and change.

Tan Dun: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
Sufjan Stevens: "The Year of the Dragon"

Color - Red, Green, & Yellow:

The Lunar New Year is a colorful event, dressed with the color red in particular. Red represents the element fire and is the luckiest color in Chinese tradition. Aside from red, two other colors are considered auspicious: green and yellow. The meaning behind these colors comes from the five elements thought to be the basis of everything in the universe: red is fire, green is wood and yellow is earth.

Zhou Long - "Green"
Anonymous - "Glowing Red Morningstar Lilies"
Xian Xinghai - "Yellow River Piano Concerto"

Tune in for an afternoon celebrating the Lunar New Year on February 10 with CPR Classical’s Essential Saturdays, starting at 1 p.m. just after the Metropolitan Opera.

Celebrate Lunar New Year, Black History Month and more

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