You are currently viewing Around the World – Chinese New Year

Around the World – Chinese New Year

As a TEFL teacher, it’s important to know about the holidays around the world that impact your students and their lessons either online or abroad in the classroom. One of the most prominent holidays being the Chinese New Year!

When is Chinese New Year? 

Because the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, corresponds with the lunar calendar, it falls on different dates each year. This year, Chinese New Year falls on Friday, 12 February 2021 and concludes on Friday, 26 February, with the Lantern Festival. During this time, schoolchildren are on winter school holiday, and some businesses may be closed as the first seven days of Chinese New Year are considered a public holiday. Therefore, plan ahead as you may have a fairly quiet teaching season during the first quarter of the year.

The Year of the Ox

The transition into a new year marks a change in Zodiac signs. These 12 signs are significant in Chinese culture. It is believed that the animal associated with a person’s birth year affects their personality and compatibility and is a symbol for the entire year. The year 2021 is the year of the ox. Oxen are esteemed creatures in Chinese culture, valued for their logic and reliability in producing hard work. According to [], 2021 is the year for working tirelessly to reap the rewards and for strengthening relationships – something TEFL teachers are renowned for! But if this is your benming year – the year of your Zodiac, unfortunately, it’s the unluckiest for you. Combat this by wearing some lucky red socks, red clothing or accessories!


Traditionally, this day was spent praying to the gods for a profitable harvest, followed by letting off firecrackers aplenty to chase away evil spirits. Today, streets and buildings are adorned with propitious red decorations from lanterns to pictures of the ox. Public celebrations take place in many Chinese cities in the form of dance and performances. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, families gather for a delicious yet symbolic reunion dinner of fish (prosperity), dumplings (wealth) and glutinous rice (job promotion). They exchange lucky red envelopes (containing money), and watch China’s most-watched annual television show: the Spring Festival Gala. It’s even broadcast globally, so catch it on DSTV and discuss the highlights with your students in future lessons! At 12 AM, billions of fireworks are unleashed into the sky to add to the festivity. Some families will even set off more fireworks later in the morning for some extra good luck for the year. 

The Lantern Festival

After Chinese New Year, society returns to their normal schedules until the 15th day when everyone reunites for the Lantern Festival, marking the last of the New Year festivities. This night also welcomes the first full moon, symbolising the return of spring. The daytime offers spectacular performances and in the night comes the lighting of lanterns. Traditionally used for religious purposes, today’s homemade and store-bought lanterns in various shapes and sizes hold many symbols, such as wishes for success, peace, happiness, health and safety. It’s a sight to behold as you walk under beautiful lanterns waving in the heavens! 

Imagine the increased rapport with your students as you take an interest in their special holidays like Chinese New Year! To learn more about fostering a positive TEFL classroom environment, join our internationally accredited 120-Hour TESOL Course, and unlock your world with a TESOL certificate to teach abroad, in majestic lands like China, or teach English online.

Until then, Happy New Year! 恭喜发财 – We wish you to be prosperous and gain a fortune!