Can you guess which 2 creatures of the zodiac are the most important symbols of Chinese New Year? Get the full history of the holiday.







  • lunar – of or relating to the moon
  • solstice – the date at which the sun reaches its maximum or minimum declination, marked by the longest and shortest days (about 21 June and 22 December)
  • influx – the arrival of large amounts of people
  • to descend – to originate or come from an ancestral source
  • lantern – a lamp with a transparent case protecting the flame, and typically having a handle by which it may be carried/hung
  • to rid – to free a place of something unwanted or harmful; get rid of –  to cause to no longer have or be affected by (something unwanted)
  • to settle – to reach an agreement about (a problem, argument)
  • to resemble – to look like or be like someone or something

True or False?

  1. Lunar New Year doesn’t last as long as a fortnight.
  2. Before a large number of immigrants arrived in northern California in 19th century, San Francisco had already held a parade for Chinese new Year.
  3. The dragon is particularly important to Chinese new Year because the Chinese are said to have descended from the mythical creature.
  4. During Festival of Lanterns people display paper lanterns in the shape of rabbits because they symbolize the goddess of the Moon.
  5. To prepare for Chinese New Year people clean up their houses to rid of the old year.
  6. People also try to resolve disputes to start a new year fresh.
  7. In this way the Chinese New Year customs are similar to the western custom of New Year’s resolutions.


 ANSWERS: 1.False; 2. False;3. True; 4. False; 5. false; 6. True; 7. True 

Practice Makes Perfect

Fill in the gaps in the sentences below with some of the words/phrases in Glossary. Then answer the questions:


  1. Have you ever been told that you …………. someone else?
  2. Have you ever helped someone to …………. their argument?
  3. How do you get ….… ….… things you no longer want/need?
  4. Have you ever watched ……….. float away in unison (e.g. having been released by wedding guests)?


 ANSWERS: 1.resemble; 2. settle; 3. rid of; 4. lanterns




  • Have you ever spent New Year’s Eve in another country? Would you like to?
  • What will be your New Year’s resolutions?
  • Do you always/ever keep your New year’s resolutions?
  • What do think/hope will change in your life/family/career/country in the new year?


It is time of the year

to make new year’s resolutions

that you know you can never keep.

But you’ll do it anyway.