Do the preparation task first. Then read the article about Chinese New Year and do the exercises.
For London’s Chinese community (and everyone else who loves a party!), Chinese New Year is a huge event. Before Chinese New Year, people make sure their houses are clean and tidy, buy new clothes and have their hair cut, to bring good luck for the new year. London has the biggest celebrations outside of Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people go to watch the parade from the West End to Trafalgar Square, which includes Chinese acrobats and traditional lion and dragon dances.
The exact date is calculated according to lunar and solar calendars, so it changes every year. Find out when it falls this year in the table below. Each year is the year of a different animal.
|rat||19 February 1996||7 February 2008||25 January 2020|
|ox||7 February 1997||26 January 2009||12 February 2021|
|tiger||28 January 1998||14 February 2010||1 February 2022|
|rabbit||16 February 1999||3 February 2011||22 January 2023|
|dragon||5 February 2000||23 January 2012||10 February 2024|
|snake||24 January 2001||10 February 2013||29 January 2025|
|horse||12 February 2002||31 January 2014||17 February 2026|
|goat||1 February 2003||19 February 2015||6 February 2027|
|monkey||22 January 2004||8 February 2016||26 January 2028|
|rooster||9 February 2005||28 January 2017||13 February 2029|
|dog||29 January 2006||16 February 2018||3 February 2030|
|pig||18 February 2007||5 February 2019||23 February 2031|
You can also find out which animal you are. First of all, find your year of birth in the table. For example, suppose you were born in 2002. The table shows that the year of the horse started on 12 February that year, so if your birthday is in 2002 on or after 12 February, you are a horse. If you were born in 2002 but before 12 February, you are a snake.
In central London there are fireworks and stage performances with all kinds of acts and special guests. Previous celebrations have included fashion shows and Chinese hip hop acts, as well as more traditional performances with Chinese acrobats. Chinatown is buzzing with excitement. The streets are decorated with lucky red lanterns and full of craft and food stalls. If you’re thinking of eating in one of Chinatown’s excellent Chinese restaurants, however, book a table early, because you won’t find one on the night. Listen out for people saying 'Kung Hei Fat Choi' to wish each other prosperity, or saying 'San Nin Faai Lok' - Happy New Year!
Chinese people in Britain
For young Chinese people studying or working in the UK, video conferencing is a brilliant way of joining big family celebrations back home. Those missing home might also cook traditional Chinese dumplings for friends in Britain or organise an evening of karaoke, another popular way of celebrating. The festivities are not as noisy as back home, they say, where loud firecrackers were traditionally used to frighten away a terrible monster called the Nian, and the special red envelopes of money from relatives may have further to travel to the UK. But there is still plenty of excitement, happiness and good feeling, as people come together to enjoy the celebrations.
Worksheets and downloads
Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year? What will you do?