Poster Lunar New Year
Red and gold lanterns are used to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Thyla Jane/Unsplash

Listen: 'Spring Moon – A Musical Celebration of the Lunar New Year'

Spring Moon: A Musical Celebration of the Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is known as Chun Jie (Spring Festival) in China, Tet Nguyen Dan in Vietnam and Seollal in Korea.  It’s also celebrated in other countries and cultures, mainly in East Asia.

The Lunar New Year begins on the first new moon of the new year, which means the dates of the holiday vary in relation to the Gregorian calendar. It calls for celebration and togetherness and signifies the beginning of a new sign in the zodiac. Host Mindy Ratner explores the significance of the holiday and the zodiac signs in Spring Moon A Musical Celebration of the Lunar New Year in celebration of the Year of the Dragon, which begins Feb. 10.

To encourage good luck in the new year, new clothes are worn (mainly in red, which is the color of happiness and prosperity), and money is given in red envelopes to help transfer good fortune from older generations to the younger ones. In the street, you can see dragon dances that are meant to scare away monsters and bad luck, and at night you can see fireworks lighting up the sky.

If you want to greet someone during the Lunar New Year, there are a few different ways to do so:

LISTEN Lunar New Year Greetings (spoken by Eric Romani)

Lunar New Year Greetings Pronunciations
Lunar New Year Greetings


  • Traditional (China) — Small River Flowing - Yolanda Kondonassis, harp

  • SUN Yiqiang — Dance of Spring - LANG Lang, piano

  • Traditional (Vietnam) — Elope in Spring - Percussion Group “Phu Dong”; Thang Long, reed pipe

  • TAN Dun — Silk Road from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Yo-Yo MA, cello; Studio Orchestra/TAN Dun, cond

  • TAN Dun — To the South from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Yo-Yo MA, cello; Studio Orchestra/TAN Dun, cond

  • GAO Hong — Flying Dragon - GAO Hong, pipa

  • Jian-Zhong WANG, arr. Yi-Wen JIANG — Five Yunnan Folk Songs/Dragon Lantern Tune - Shanghai Quartet

  • Hu-Wei HUANG, arr. JIANG — Pictures from Bashu - Six Sichuan Folk Songs/Spring in Chengdu Eugenia Zukerman, flute; Shanghai Quartet 

  • TAN Dun— Eight Memories in Watercolor, Op. 1 Blue Nun - LANG Lang, piano

  • DENG Yuxian — Spring Wind - LANG Lang, piano

  • Traditional (Korea) — Chambu Taryong - CHI Young-hee, p’iri; SUNG Keum-yun, changgo

  • Traditional (Korea) arr. KIM Hee-jo — Milyang Arirang - KBS Symphony Orchestra; Vakhtang Jordania, cond

  • HUANG Hai Hwai, CHEN Rao Xing and SHEN Li Chun, arr. LANG Lang and LANG Guo-ren — Horses - LANG Lang, piano; LANG Guo-ren, erhu

  • CHEN Yi — Romance of Hsiao and Ch’in - Beijing New Music Ensemble members

  • Traditional (Korea) — Binari/Greeting to Good Luck - Chung Woong Korean Traditional Music Ensemble

  • Traditional (China), arr. Xuefei YANG — A Moonlit Night on the Spring River - Xuefei YANG, guitar

  • Traditional (China) — Small River Flowing (reprise) - Yolanda Kondonassis, harp

More information

The Lunar New Year

Chun Jie (Spring Festival) — China

Tet Nguyen Dan — Vietnam

Seollal — Korea

The zodiac calendar

The Splendid Table’: Lunar New Year food traditions of China, Vietnam and Korea

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