This webquest by Adrian Tennant, published in association with Macmillan’s Discover China series, includes activities on the traditions and food associated with Chinese New Year, as well as the Chinese calendar and zodiac signs. It is free to all onestopenglish users.


Look for the answers to the following questions and share your answers with your partner.

Activity 1: Introduction

What do you know about Chinese New Year? See how many of these questions you can answer, then check your answers using the following weblink:

  1. By what other name is Chinese New Year known?
  2. When is it celebrated?
  3. When is the lantern festival?
  4. Why do people clean their house before the start of New Year?
  5. What do the colours red and gold represent?
  6. Why do children like to get red envelopes?
  7. In the lion dance, why does the lion have a mirror on its head?
  8. What will you often find painted on the new year lanterns?

Activity 2: Traditional food

Food is always important for festivals and celebrations – and for Chinese New Year, it is no different. Find the answers to these questions using the following weblink:

1. What is nian gao and how is it different in the north and south of China?

2. In China, different types of food are often associated with something important. Match these foods with what they represent:

1. fish a. Family reunion
2. chicken b. Surplus and wealth
3. noodles c. prosperity (wealth)





3. Why are vegetable dishes tradtionally eaten at this time?


Activity 3: Customs and traditions

Decide whether the following customs and traditions related to Chinese New Year are true (T) or false (F). Then, check your answers using the web page below:

1. Families usually gather together for a big meal on New Year’s Day.

2. Families eat lots of different dishes for their New Year meal.

3. Married people get money in red packets.

4. Fireworks were traditionally used to scare away a monster.

5. The colour red is important for Chinese New year.

6. Tiger dances are performed.

7. Apples are a popular fruit during New Year.

8. People often visit the temple on the first day of the New Year.

What other superstitions and traditions about Chinese New Year can you find? Are there any that are similar to those in your culture? Discuss these with a partner.

Activity 4: The calendar and zodiac signs

Use the website below to answer these questions.

1. Is the Chinese calendar solar or lunar?

2. How many months are there in the Chinese calendar?

3. How does the Chinese calendar count years?

4. What is special about the year 2033?

5. Which zodiac animals are associated with the years 2019 and 2020?

Go to to find out what your zodiac animal is and what its characteristics are, then compare with a partner. Do the characteristics match your personality?

Find out more about studying Chinese with Macmillan’s Discover China series.


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