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ClassicsOnline Home » Spring Festival
Happiness Fills the Air
This music wishes the listener a very good year ahead. The Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. As it is the beginning of a new year, this is a very important celebration for the Chinese.
Beautiful Flowers, Full Moon
With the advent of the new year, every home is decked in festive gaiety and filled with the joy of expectation. This particular piece of music is specially selected to accompany you on Lunar New Year's Eve. Traditionally, families will gather round the dining table to have a sumptuous repast. After the meal, they will wait out the year together. On the stroke of midnight, families will let off fire-crackers to welcome the new year.
Spring Winds Caress the Green
After the Spring Festival, the land returns to a cloak of greenery. The green will eventually turn to gold, where the harvest begins, and then everything dies as winter covers the land.
This tune, "The Embroidered Purse" is specially dedicated to the young men and women who are looking for their lifelong partners. In China, a young lady expresses her love by embroidering a purse with a lucky design as a present for the man in her life.
Flower Drum Song
During the Spring Festival, the happiest people are the children. Beating the flower drums and letting off fire-crackers are the prime occupation of these children.
Fire-crackers have a history of two thousand years. Legend has it that once a monster with four horns lived in the wilderness, coming out once in every three hundred and sixty-five days to harm people. As it was afraid of light and sound, the people fired crackers to frighten it away. The practice continued to this day, adding colour and sound to the festivities.
Following Chinese customs, families start preparing for the new year during the last month of the year. As everyone's worked very hard throughout the year, this is the countdown to the end. Eating the New Year Cake ensures a prosperous year ahead.
Warm Spring Breeze
During the Spring Festival, Chinese families stick couplets on both sides of their main doors. The words on the couplets wish the family peace and prosperity for the coming year. The practice of pasting couplets go back in Chinese history as far back as the Sung Dynasty.
Over the ages, it was carried down from generation to generation, and is now a "must-do" for the Chinese New Year.
The villagers in the North look forward to snow during the Spring Festival. This ensures a good crop for the year.
The Chinese hold dragon and lion dances to usher in the new year. The dragon, a mythical creature, is believed to chase away disasters and bring prosperity to the land. Lion dances, on the other hand, bring peace to everyone.
The Chinese are a race of hospitable people. When guests visit, inevitably a steaming pot of fragrant tea will be served. Sipping tea and having tete-a-tetes have been raised to an art form, so much so, present-day Chinese call such gatherings "Fragrant Tea Meetings".
Colourful Clouds Chasing After the Moon
This beautiful tune wishes all married couples a happy year ahead a year filled with love and joy.
Heavenly Peaches for Longevity
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, all the young will dress in their new clothes and make obeisance to their elders in the main hall of their ancestral home. Not only is this a traditional gesture, it teaches the young to revere their elders. Chinese folklore abound with stories of how children make sacrifices to ensure their parents do not suffer.
Your Lucky Star Shines
At the onset of the Spring Festival, one can see the word "Prosperity" everywhere. The word is usually stuck on walls the wrong way up as a play on the word "dao" which can mean "upside down" or "has arrived". By sticking the word upside down, the Chinese are wishing that Prosperity has arrived.
According to ancient legend, one of the gods brought a hundred animals to mankind and the ancient Chinese chose twelve as symbols of good fortune. These symbols were then used to tell time and the symbols divide the day into twelve segments of two hours each.
Spring brings forth the fragrance of a thousand flowers. During the festivities, do not forget to give flowers. Flowers are for all people your elders, friends and loved ones. What better way than this to celebrate the Spring Festival!
Welcome Spring and Fortune
In China, the villagers living in the North have a tradition of making dumplings on the eve of the new year. It is a family activity and everyone, young and old, has to participate. The elders in the family will sometimes "hide" peanuts or other nuts in the dumpling. Any youngster who eats the dumplings with the nut is said to face a blessed year ahead.
Spring Blossoms Everywhere
During preparations for the Spring Festival, it is a practice to buy "New Year Paintings". These paintings were pasted on the door and are supposed to bring good fortune and dispel evil spirits. For these reasons, they are also known as "Door Gods".
Also, paintings are put up in the halls and these include paintings of "good tidings", namely, that of peaches, lotus flowers, birds and fishes.
Wu Guo-wen, Conductor
Wu Guo-wen is a talented music producer, as well as a soloist, teacher, conductor cum recording engineer. Since the seventies, he was involved in the Chinese classical music scene. In 1980, he was appointed to the Er-hu seat of honour in the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation Chinese Orchestra and was the Hu-qin soloist for most of the concerts of the orchestra. He joined the People's Association Chinese Orchestra as a Senior Musician in 1981 and represented Singapore to perform in U.S.A., Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. He also took part in a traditional music competition in England in 1983 and won the Third Prize. He learnt conducting from Associate Professor Xia Fei-yun; attained higher technique of performing San-xian from Associate Professor Zhang Nian-bing and advanced his style of playing the Er-hu from Associate Professor Xiang Zhu-ying, Xiao Bai-pu and Tang Liang-de.
He was the conductor of the Kampong Chai Chee Community Centre Chinese Orchestra from 1983 to 1991 and held several concerts with great success. Among these, there was once where he conducted an orchestra of 150 members. The most outstanding concert he conducted was the 300-strong orchestra during the Festival Fringe organised by the Ministry of Community Development in 1988.
He conducted several schools' Chinese Orchestras since 1982 and stopped teaching in 1991. The schools included Anderson Junior College, Changkat Changi Secondary School and Broadrick Secondary School and the orchestras won Distinction Awards in the National Inter-School Chinese Orchestra Competitions.
From 1984, he started recording and production. He made use of his accumulated experience in music to attain high professional standards. In 1991, he was appointed Music Consultant of "Yellow River" Records.
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