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St Patrick's Primary School

Together Everyone Achieves More. Journey to Learning

Chinese New Year

Learning Intentions

To locate China on a world map.

To learn about the lantern festival.

To learn some Chinese phrases and interesting facts about China.

To compare the traditions with those celebrated in Ireland.




Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is a 15-day festival that is celebrated annually depending on the sighting of the new moon. The occasion is also known as the Spring Festival, and an animal is associated with each New Year.This year it begins on 22nd of January.

In Mandarin Chinese,Happy Chinese New Year Wishes 2023 is expressed in Mandarin as 

           xn nián ho (sshin-nyen haoww)

Lantern Festival

On the 15th day of the first lunar month, two weeks after Chinese New Year, another important traditional Chinese festival, the Chinese Lantern Festival or (元宵节), is celebrated. It marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) period. Chinese Lantern Festival 2023 will be celebrated on February 5th in 2023.

On the night of the Chinese Lantern Festival, streets are decorated with colourful lanterns, often with riddles written on them. People eat sweet rice balls called tangyuan, watch dragon and lion dances, and set off fireworks.


Where does the tradition come from?



Story one: A Buddhist celebration


One story about the the Lantern Festival says the holiday was created during the time of Emperor Ming of Han (58-75 CE).

At this time, Buddhism was already getting popular in China.

Emperor Ming was a supporter of Buddhism and after he saw Buddhist monks light lanterns on the 15th day of the first lunar month, he decided everyone should do the same. This practice lives on as today’s Lantern Festival.


Story two: A trick played on the Jade Emperor

Another story about the Lantern Festival has to do with the Jade Emperor. Supposedly, his favorite crane was killed by some villagers, so he decided to take revenge by burning down their village on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

When his daughter heard about her father’s plan, she felt sorry for the villagers and warned them about what was going to happen.

To save themselves, the villagers decided to trick the Jade Emperor into thinking their village was already on fire. They did this by hanging red lanterns, setting off firecrackers and lighting some fires throughout the village.

Their plan worked. The Emperor was deceived and the village was saved. Afterwards, people continued to light firecrackers and hang red lanterns every year to remember the trick. The custom spread over the years and now it is celebrated all over the world.