Chinese New Year

Dragon dances, acrobats, fireworks, a parade ... London is buzzing with excitement at Chinese New Year. Find out what you can do to join in the excitement!


Do the preparation task first. Then read the article about Chinese New Year and do the exercises.

The event

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 date

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.

The celebrations

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.


Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year? What will you do?

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Submitted by iPat_ZL on Mon, 02/01/2021 - 11:03

Chinese New Year is so much fun!
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Submitted by Steve on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 11:56

Hi my name is Steve. I was born in rooster year. I very like chinese new year. My younger brother is very like making paper lanterns. Happy chinese new year.
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Submitted by Batgirl on Thu, 02/15/2018 - 18:45

I won't celebrate Chinese New Year, but I would really like to see all those entertaiments and to taste traditional Chinese food!
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