1. It's Lunar New Year!

Transcript item

Kirk: Hi, Jonathan. How are you doing today?

Jonathan: Hi, Kirk. Yeah, I'm pretty good, thanks. How are you?

Kirk: Not bad. I had a good weekend. Listen, I understand that it's Lunar New Year pretty soon and so I imagine there are going to be some celebrations there in Hong Kong?

Jonathan: Oh, yes. Yeah, here in Hong Kong it's a really important event. Yeah, it's really important. So, yeah, it's pretty exciting. It's pretty exciting.

Kirk: So what do people do for Lunar New Year?

Jonathan: Well, like, it's very much a family celebration, yeah, so people go to visit their family. Actually, there are three days in the Lunar New Year Chinese New Year celebration. Yeah, three days, and here in Hong Kong they are public holidays, so people generally don't, er, many people don't need to go to work for those days. So on those days they go to visit their family, and if you have a big family, then that means lots of people to visit. Yeah, for example, a married couple. They might spend one day with one person's family and then another day with another person's family. Yeah, like that.

Kirk: Ah, OK. Yeah, actually we do the same thing here at Christmas, where Christmas and the day after are holidays and a lot of people visit one side of the family on one day and the other side of the family on the other day, or at least something like that, so, interesting. So do people go and, I assume, they have some kind of meal together, or how do they celebrate?

Jonathan: Oh, yes, yeah. Food's quite … yeah, people will have a big meal. Yeah, the food's quite important. Yeah, people will often have dumplings or fish or there's a type of rice cake here that people eat at Chinese New Year. Yeah, people will often have quite a big meal, and then, like, people often play games with their families as well. Yeah, I don't know, people often play mah-jong. Have you heard of that?

Kirk: Oh, yeah, of course. Yeah, mah-jong. I have no idea how to play it. I understand it's quite difficult to learn, but I've never tried really, so I don't know.

Jonathan: Yeah, same, same. I've heard it's quite difficult, yeah. I don't really know. Yeah, it's quite a complicated game, but you need a group. You need four people to play it, so it's good, it's a good game for families, I guess. Yeah.

Kirk: So it's kind of like bridge, I guess, or something. 

Jonathan: Yeah, yeah, something like that.

Kirk: Don't know how to play bridge either, to be honest!

Jonathan: Yeah, same.

Kirk: Yeah, I saw something just this morning about a Chinese New Year celebration here in Barcelona. I don't know much about it because I didn't look too carefully at it, but I imagine … I mean, I know people celebrate it in the US as well, in some of the bigger cities, so I imagine, is it the same in the UK?

Jonathan: Yeah, for sure. Yes, yeah, I'm not from Hong Kong, actually, so, like, I don't have family here, so I don't really participate in those type of family celebrations. But in the UK, yeah, there are massive celebrations in, I know in Manchester it's really big, in London it's really big too, and, yeah, lots of other cities as well. They'll be celebrating at this time, yeah.

Kirk: Very good. Well, very good and happy Chinese New Year.

Jonathan: Yeah, thanks. Happy Chinese New Year to anyone who's celebrating, Happy Lunar New Year to anyone who's celebrating. I know this is a big celebration in many different places. Yeah, Korea, Viet Nam, yeah, Singapore, Malaysia and, yeah, communities all around the world. So, yeah, if you're celebrating, wish you a very happy Lunar New Year.

Kirk: Happy New Year!

Hong Kong is getting ready for Chinese New Year! Listen to Jonathan telling Kirk all about it.

What about you?

  • Do you celebrate Lunar New Year or New Year at another time? If you do, how do you celebrate it?
  • Have you learned anything new from the video?

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Average: 4.6 (7 votes)

Hi sanfran0696,

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the video! Right now, it's the third day of the lunar new year so the celebrations are still continuing.

Do you have any festivals in Colombia at this time of year?


LearnEnglish team

Hi Fatma Salem,

Thanks for your nice voice message! How did you celebrate the lunar new year this time? Here in Hong Kong, there was a big fireworks show last night.


LearnEnglish team

Hi Samiaaac,

Thank you for visiting our site and leaving your voice message! Your new year sounds like a very joyful and meaningful occasion. I enjoyed your description of the food and cooking, and I am curious about the couscous that you mentioned. Best wishes to you.


LearnEnglish team

Hi Goodwin_84,

Your description sounds a lot like how new year is celebrated in my house - with TV and family - with the difference that we rarely go out to see the fireworks, as it's so cold!


LearnEnglish team

Hi Camihail,

Thank you for your voice message. That's amazing, such a large group of friends. You must all enjoy it a lot. Do you do that every year?

It's interesting that people wear red for good luck, which is similar to many places in Asia! 


LearnEnglish team

Hi khuludaljoufi,

Thank you for telling us about your new year celebrations! I can see some similarities with the lunar new year celebrations described in the video.

Is it the most important celebration of the year, for you?


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Wity on Tue, 21/02/2023 - 07:28


Hi everyone, May you all have a lovely day! As a VNmese, I do celebrate Lunar New Year and It's considered a vital part of VNmese nation. The vibe is always vibrant at the days before Tet. For me, I wait for Tet and also buy new clothes. In my hometown- a countryside, People often pay their ancestors tomb a visit and do some spiritual activities for inviting the ancestor back to home. And at the 3 first days of new year, we come to home of relatives, friends, neighbors,... for giving the good wish to each other. It's also interesting when cooking and enjoying the traditional food that only appearing at Tet.

How's about yours ?

Hi Wity - thanks for your explanation ... I'd love to hear more about it! What do you eat during this period? Are there certain types of food on each of the three days? I've always wanted to go to Vietnam so I'm eager to know more!

I lived in Hong Kong for a few years, when I was younger, and loved to watch all the firecrackers going off and people celebrating the Lunar New Year - it's such a colourful time of year! 

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by SHAROKUDDIN MORANY on Sat, 04/02/2023 - 01:26


Hi every one, in arabe world, they celebrate much new year, for example: The collapse of the Marib Dam, the year of the migration of the Prophet Muhammad, the birth of the Prophet Isa...

Hi Morany,

That is very interesting. When are these celebrated? Is the date different every year?


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by karpickvika on Sun, 29/01/2023 - 18:02


Hi everyone! Thanks a lot for your video. In Kazakhstan, the New Year is celebrated twice: on January 1 - in accordance with the European tradition, and on March 21-23 - after the vernal equinox. We also eat a lot of delicious food and relax with our family.

Hi @karpickvika! 😊

You are very lucky to celebrate two 'New Year' celebrations! I'd love to know about the one in March. Can you tell us a bit more? This is around the time of the first day of spring in the UK so I'm guessing your celebrations are around that? You mention delicious food in your comment ... what sort of food do you prepare for it?

~ Tinaツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by yoan on Sun, 29/01/2023 - 10:49


Hi everyone
Its nice topic I think. Talking about Chinese New Year remind me when I was teaching at school who has many Chinese student. They celebrated with various activities. But one of activity that I really wanted to see is 'Barongsai' in English is Lion Dance. It is a very interesting activity.

Submitted by H-B on Sat, 28/01/2023 - 21:13


hi, i'm a chinese student so i'm kinda used to the vocabulary in this video , and i know how the lunar new year goes in general.
same in morocco we (AMAZIGH people) have another new year called 'YENNAYER' we celebrate it in january 12,13 every year . and and we celebrate by wearing tradinional clothes like 'afaggou' or 'tamelhaft' and alot of amazigh jewelries and 'idoukan' . and making special dishes like 'inboubern' 'tagoulla' and 'berkouksh'. spending the day gathring with the big family ,sharing the food and dancing on AMAZIGH music (AHWACH).
if by any chance you wanna know more about this you can use this key words "ahwach" , "amazigh".

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Submitted by wailinthu.lm on Thu, 26/01/2023 - 07:31


I like to go home and see our family, especially Dad and Mom every new year. I think it is fascinating for everyone.

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Submitted by alessandraluciani on Sun, 22/01/2023 - 17:32


Thanks for the video. I don't Knew about the chinese food in the Lunar New Year

Hi alessandraluciani,
Food is a very traditional and meaningful part of the celebrations! I think different places that celebrate lunar new year have different dishes. Maybe most important of all is sharing the meal with your family and friends.
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Jisaeva,

Yes, right - meaning that you didn't know before you watched the video. 

I hope you enjoyed the video.


LearnEnglish team

Hi Sabrina,
I like the idea of travelling at new year. It is a good way to close one year and start the next one. :) I also don't mind travelling alone at all.
The LearnEnglish Team