Moon phases: songs for the Lunar New Year

Welcome to This Week’s Playlist, where we look to current events for some melodic curation inspiration. Tune in every Monday for a mix of news, commentary, and of course, music.

Happy Almost New Year! Wait — before you cry foul, we’re talking about the Lunar New Year here, which begins its 2015-2016 cycle this Thursday, February 19. The Lunar New Year, aka the Chinese New Year, is actually a “lunisolar” year based on the cycles of the moon but adjusted to the time-keeping system the rest of the world uses. While the popular Lunar New Year is based off of the Chinese calendar, other cultures have other lunar calendars and other celebrations.

What do you do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? There are a whole slew of traditions associated with them: the celebration of that year’s Zodiac animal (this year’s animal is Year of the Goat; I’ll wait while you go check your horoscope); eating all of the delicious foods; wearing red to ensure good luck. But behind all the trappings of a weeks-long celebration: the moon, pinned into the night sky.

The moon has always been a symbol of a particular kind of feminine energy and embodied by female figures throughout history, from Artemis to Sailor Moon. There are the no-brainer reasons, but there are also the associations of the moon as the opposite of the masculine sun: of coolness instead of heat, of passivity instead of aggression. Even if you don’t subscribe to those notions, we very much do need the moon (for tides, lunar and solar eclipses, romantic inspiration, the list goes on), and for that, we’re giving it and its other nighttime celestial compatriots their time.

(Image via.)