Celebrating the New Year Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is an important holiday. It honors household gods and ancestors.
The holiday is also known as Spring Festival. Spring Festival is when people celebrate the
traditional Chinese New Year.
The Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese calendar. It is many years old. This
calendar is based on phases of the moon. The calendar has twelve signs along the path of
the sun. Each sign represents an animal. Each new year is the year of one of the animals.
The Chinese say people have some traits of the animal for the year they were born.
Traditional Chinese New Year celebrations focused on home and family. People cleaned
their homes. They wanted to get rid of anything from the old year that might not bring good
fortune in the new year. Such cleaning would also please the gods. People offered food
and paper icons to ancestors and the gods. They put scrolls with lucky messages on the
doors to their homes. Elders gave children an even amount of “lucky money” in red paper
packets. People lit fireworks to frighten evil spirits. People hoped for good luck and long life
for their parents.
The most important part of the festival is the food. During the first five days of the new
year, people eat long noodles. The noodles are a symbol of long life. People eat round
dumplings. This food stands for family and protection. Family members share a special
meal together. The last course of the meal is a fish. People do not eat the fish. It stands for
many good things.
Today, some places have parades. People enjoy time off work. Some families celebrate in
the old ways. They get together and share meals with traditional foods. They do things to bring
good luck. Other people do different things to celebrate. They watch special shows on TV.
They get together with their friends. Old and new, people enjoy thinking about a new year!

1. What is the meaning of the word ancestor?
a. relative who lived long ago b. a powerful being c. a type of animal

2. Why do people eat long noodles during the New Year’s festival?
a. to frighten away evil spirits b. to bring good luck c. to have long life

3. What is the relationship between the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival?
a. They happen at different
times of the year.
b. One is celebrated in China
and one is celebrated in the
United States.
c. Spring Festival is another
name for the traditional
Chinese New Year.


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