Chinese New Year Vocabulary Words In English You Can Teach

China, as we all know it, is one of the world’s most important countries. It not only is the most populous country in the world but also the second most influential country in the world. Teaching in China has been a popular opportunity for aspiring foreign educators. Due to the high demand in the region, the number of available positions is only increasing.

Similarly, China has been expanding into a foreign market which creates a need for proficient English speakers. Thus, if you are an English educator looking to travel abroad, now is the time to act.

Living in China

Alongside offering a huge job market, China also boasts a tantalizing living experience. There are plenty of living options to choose from that entail metropolitan and small city living experiences.

If you are the type to enjoy a bustling city with tall skyscrapers and modernity, Shanghai and Hong Kong are two such cities to enjoy. On the other side, if you enjoy quiet walks in the street and peaceful living then you may be interested in the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou.

There are also numerous tourist attractions that would be available to you if you were to live in mainland China such as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Additionally, living in China would mean being exposed to the 4,000-year-old rich Chinese culture. The culture’s main components include music, architecture, cuisine, literature, martial arts, and even religion. The culture is also filled with many festivals, two of which are the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. However, one of the most important festivals by far is the Chinese New Year which is also called the Spring Festival.

Brief Overview of the Spring Festival

The Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar Year Festival. It is a 7-week long holiday that is a major event in China and even some other East Asian countries. It is celebrated in South Korea under the name of Seollal and is known as Tet in Vietnam.

The holiday celebrates the beginning of a new year and traditionally is a two-week-long celebration that ends on the 15th of the new lunar year, the Lantern Festival. Regional traditions vary but throughout the country, streets are decorated, parades are held and fireworks are displayed to commemorate the start of the new year.

Chinese tradition emphasizes starting the new year in good spirits wishing for good fortune and wealth. Spring Festival traditions include starting the day with cleaning the house to welcome the new year, wearing new clothes, gifting children ‘luck’ money, and decorating the homes with red lanterns. In addition to that, Spring Festival festivities include drums and striking gongs, dragon and lion dances, and finally, meeting up with relatives for celebration.

To summarize, it is a very important event in China and is celebrated throughout the country.

English Words to Teach During The Chinese New Year

As the Chinese New Year is a week-long event, it is known as a Golden Week in mainland China. The ‘Golden Week’ is a phrase for a week-long holiday in the country. It means that schools and public offices will be closed for the entire week. Hence as a foreign educator, you will have a week-long holiday for relaxation and enjoying the festivities.

To make up for the time lost during the holidays, the working community is encouraged to take up extra work before or after the holiday. If you teach English in China, here are some words that you could teach the students during this time of festivities.

The words listed below in this article are centered around the Spring Festival and sayings commonly said around this time.

The following are some English words and phrases you can teach around this time alongside their pinyin. Pinyin is the standard system of romanized spelling for transliterating Chinese.

English Words for Festival Names and Dates

English                                                           Pinyin


Spring Festival                                                chūnjié
Spring Festival Migration                                chūnyùn
Lunar New Year                                              nóng lì xīn nián

Lantern Festival                                              yuán xiāo

Chinese New Year Gala                                 chūnjié wǎnhuì

Celebrate the New Year                                 guònián

Chinese New Year’s Eve                                chúxī

New Year’s Day                                              dànián chūyī

The first month of the lunar year                    zhēng yuè

The twelfth month of the lunar year               làyuè
New Year’s visit                                              bàinián

New Years dinner                                           nián yè fàn

English Phrases for Greetings/Blessings


English                                                           Pinyin

Happy Spring Festival                                    chūnjié kuàilè
Happy Holidays                                               guònián hǎo

Happy New Year                                            n nián kuài lè

May you have abundance year after year     niánniányǒuyú

May all your wishes come true                       zhù nǐ xīnxiǎng-shìchéng

Wishing (You) Good Fortune                          gōngxǐfācái

Wishing (You) Good Health                            jìng zhù shēntǐ jiànkāng
Everlasting peace year after year                  suìsuì-píng’ān


English Words for Objects/Activities/Decorations


English                                                           Pinyin


Gifts                                                                lǐwù

Lantern                                                            nglóng

Fireworks                                                        yānhuā

Firecrackers                                                    biānpào

Red envelope                                                  hóngbāo

Comedic skits                                                 xiǎopǐn

Lion dance                                                      wǔshī

Dragon dance                                                 wǔ lóng

Zodiac                                                             shēngxiào

English Words for New Year Food

English                                                           Pinyin

Glutinous rice dumplings                                tāngyuán

Dumplings                                                       jiǎozi

Spring rolls                                                      chūnjuǎn


Longevity noodles                                           chángshòu miàn

Fruit                                                                 shuǐguǒ

New Year’s cake                                            niángāo

English Words for the Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese tradition has its own horoscope which is represented by 12 animals. It starts and ends with the Chinese New Year. Each year is represented by its own animal making them suitable words to teach in English in China. The Chinese zodiac starts with the Rat. Listed below in chronological order are the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

English                                                           Pinyin


Rat                                                                  shǔ

Ox                                                                   niú



Dragon                                                            lóng

Snake                                                              shé


Sheep                                                              yáng

Monkey                                                           hóu


Dog                                                                 gǒu

Pig                                                                   zhū


After reading this article you must have developed an understanding of the Spring Festival and its significance for the Chinese people.

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As a side note, the time of celebrations in China is one of joy and communal unity. All around the world, Chinese people come together in spirit to celebrate the start of the new year. It is a spectacular festival to witness, so if you choose to stay in China during this time be sure to make the most of it.

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