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Materials to use with the Chinese New Year lesson plan

With permission from Scotland Online & Qi

For a Word version

Chinese poster 2

Fortune Cookies

Dream your dream and your dream will dream of you.

You will enjoy good health, you will be surrounded by luxury

You are admired for your adventuous ways.

The Wheel of Good Fortune is finally turning in your direction!

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

Use your instincts now.

Enthusiastic leadership gets you a promotion when you least expect it.

Enhance your karma by engaging in various charitable activities.

It's a good thing that life is not as serious as it seems to the waiter.

It may be those who do most, dream most

Do not fear what you don't know

Think you can. Think you can't. Either way, you'll be right.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Let your heart make your decisions - it does not get as confused as your head.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.

The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; unfortunately the population is growing.

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

He is a fool who cannot be angry; but he is a wise man who will not.

If you're happy, you're successful.

The reason we hate a liar is not his immorality, but his gall in thinking we'd believe him.

I went to the race track once and bet on a horse that was so good that it took seven others to beat him!

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe.

It makes sense, when you don't think about it.

"I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter." - Blaise Pascal

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

People will do tomorrow what they did today because that is what they did yesterday.

Faults are thick where love is thin.

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.

Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

The human individual usually lives too far within his limits.


Chinese New Year - the History

The Chinese New Year has a great history. In other traditions, by this time in the year, most resolutions - made on December 31 - have been subtly forgotten and placed in a cupboard marked "maybe next year." However, all hope is not lost, as there's a second chance to start afresh with the celebration of Chinese New Year on February 18th.

The Chinese New Year is very similar to the Western one, swathed in traditions and rituals.

The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself centuries old - in fact, too old to actually be traced. It is popularly recognised as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.

Preparations tend to begin a month from the date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck, and doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red. The doors and windows are then decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them.

The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of the event, as anticipation creeps in. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes. Delicacies include prawns, for liveliness and happiness, dried oysters (or ho xi), for all things good, raw fish salad or yu sheng to bring good luck and prosperity, Fai-hai (Angel Hair), an edible hair-like seaweed to bring prosperity, and dumplings boiled in water (Jiaozi) signifying a long-lost good wish for a family. It's usual to wear something red as this colour is meant to ward off evil spirits - but black and white are out, as these are associated with mourning. After dinner, the family sit up for the night playing cards, board games or watching TV programmes dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks.

On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then their neighbours. Like the Western saying "let bygones be bygones," at Chinese New Year, grudges are very easily cast aside.

The end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns, which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows.

Although celebrations of the Chinese New Year vary, the underlying message is one of peace and happiness for family members and friends.


The Chinese calendar

The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600BC, when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. Like the Western calendar, The Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, with the start of the lunar year being based on the cycles of the moon. Therefore, because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. This year it falls on February 12th. A complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal.Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying: "This is the animal that hides in your heart."

Rat 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
Ox 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
Tiger 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
Rabbit 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
Dragon 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
Snake 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
Horse 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
Sheep 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
Monkey 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
Rooster 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017
Dog 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
Pig 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019


Check your personality type according to Traditional Chinese Astrology

Find the year you were born within the Chinese lunar calendar. The element that follows the year will tell you which of the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire, or earth) relates to the particular year in which you were born. The Chinese use the sign, the element, and even the time to calculate an astrological/numerical pattern in which they can forecast future events, recall past events and recognize tendencies.


January 31, 1900 to February 18, 1901 (metal)
February 18, 1912 to February 5, 1913 (water)
February 5, 1924 to January 23, 1925 (wood)
January 24, 1936 to February 10, 1937 (fire)
February 10, 1948 to January 28, 1949 (earth)
January 28, 1960 to February 14, 1961 (metal)
February 15, 1972 to February 2, 1973 (water)
February 2, 1984 to February 19, 1985 (wood)
February 19, 1996 to February 6, 1997 (fire)

Celebrities include:
Plato - Haydn - Mozart - Tchaikovsky

For those born in these years, the key word is "charm". Highly adaptable and creative, quick-witted, sociable, and intelligent. Appealing outward personality typically hides a crafty and opportunistic personality. They tend to be very talkative and are seldom found sitting quietly by themselves.
The Rat is very quick-witted and can accomplish in days what some may take months to do, but they are typically perfectionists and difficult to work around despite their exceptional talents.
Rat personalities tend to scrimp and budget carefully when resources are tight, yet spend lavishly when finances are good. Rats are self-contained and keep problems to themselves. Although very outgoing, they seldom confide in anyone.
Often talented in abstract subjects such as math and music, they make good planners, especially in business situations as well as the arts.


February 19, 1901 to February 7, 1902 (metal)
February 6, 1913 to January 25, 1914 (water)
January 24, 1925 to February 12, 1926 (wood)
February 11, 1937 to January 30, 1938 (fire)
January 29, 1949 to February 16, 1950 (earth)
February 15, 1961 to February 4, 1962 (metal)
February 3, 1973 to January 22, 1974 (water)
February 20, 1985 to February 8, 1986 (wood)
February 7, 1997 to January 27, 1998 (fire)

Celebrities include:
Bach - Handel - Van Gogh - Dvorak - Walt Disney - Charles Chaplin

Those born in these years are typically reliable and dependable. Ox personalities often rise to positions of authority and make excellent leaders, however they are seldom elected into high official status because of their lack of flair and excitement.
The Ox achieves through routine hard work and patience...not that the Ox lacks a creative imagination. They are hard-working and persistent, and can stick to a task longer and harder than others. They believe in themselves.
Although seldom romantic, the Ox is very tender and loving to the few lucky enough to receive such attention. They are not social or party animals and tend to be quiet when in groups. People who are around oxen-personalities often misunderstand them, but oxen are patient and caring. An ox is the best friend you could choose.
In business, the Ox often bring prosperity as a result of logical thought and extensive planning. They are exceptional at hand-crafts or the arts.
The Ox has a prime place in Chinese symbolism and appears on the first page of almost every Chinese Almanac. The Ox is a symbol of diligence, perseverance, tenacity and thoroughness.


February 8, 1902 to January 28, 1903 (water)
January 26, 1914 to February 13, 1915 (wood)
February 13, 1926 to February 1, 1927 (fire)
January 31, 1938 to February 18, 1939 (earth)
February 17, 1950 to February 5, 1951 (metal)
February 5, 1962 to January 24, 1963 (water)
January 23, 1974 to February 10, 1975 (wood)
February 9, 1986 to January 28, 1987 (fire)
January 28, 1998 to February 15, 1999 (earth)

Celebrities include:
Marilyn Monroe - Queen Elizabeth II - Sun Yet San -
Karl Marx - Beethoven

Tigers are likely to succeed in sales, personnel management and military careers. They typically have a strong competitive streak (especially in business dealings) and must be careful not to create enemies during their quest for success. Not easily influenced by others, the Tiger's natural authority is seldom challenged, and make excellent role models. They have a magnetic personalities and, when combined with their confidence, are difficult to resist.
The Tiger is usually regarded as having male-like tendencies and therefore Chinese tend to distrust women born in the Tiger years, partially because of the power that they can exert. Tiger personalities are daring fighters and stand up to the bitter end for what they feel is righteous. They are respected by their peers and enemies for their courage and dedication.
Tiger personalities are sensitive, emotional, and capable of great love, but have a difficult time understanding the meaning of moderation. They often approach love with as much ferocity as a good fight.
The Tiger is indeed the king of the beasts in China as well as many other countries throughout the world.


January 29, 1903 to February 15, 1904 (water)
February 14, 1915 to February 2, 1916 (wood)
February 2, 1927 to January 22, 1928 (fire)
February 19, 1939 to February 7, 1940 (earth)
February 1951 to January 26 1952 (metal)
January 25, 19673 to February 12, 1964 (water)
February 11, 1975 to January 30, 1976 (wood)
January 29, 1987 to February 16, 1988 (fire)
February 16, 1999 to February 4, 2000 (earth)

Celebrities include:
Michelangelo - Napoleon - Albert Einstein - Walt Whitman - Marie Curie

Hares (rabbits) are happiest when with friends and safely inside of social circles. They are often meek and withdrawn among groups of strangers. They seldom like to argue and enjoy quiet, peaceful lives. A Hare is cautious and will weigh the pros and cons from every angle before moving ahead.
A lover of good conversation, reading, and intellectual discussions, the hare is sincere and are often gifted healers, herbalists, and doctors. Traditionally associated with clear-sightedness, the Hare is an excellent judge of character and has a certain ability to recognize when others are lying. A Hare's home is typically a beautiful one, and they take great care and expend a lot of energy making it comfortable. You will find a lot of expensive and precious items in the home of a Hare personality.
The Chinese have many strange legends about the Hare, one of them is that they inhabit the moon, together with three-legged frogs. Another legend has it that the Hare possesses the secret recipe for the elixir of immortality.


February 16, 1904 to February 3, 1905 (wood)
February 3, 1916 to January 22, 1947 (fire)
January 23, 1928 to February 9, 1929 (earth)
February 8, 1940 to January 26, 1941 (metal)
January 27, 1952 to February 13, 1953 (water)
February 13, 1964 to February 1, 1965 (wood)
January 31, 1976 to February 17, 1977 (fire)
February 17, 1988 to February 5, 1989 (earth)

Celebrities include:
Sigmund Freud - Martin Luther King - Shirley Temple -
Grace Kelly - Christopher Reeves - Florence Nightingale

The Dragon is one of the most exotic and flamboyant of all Chinese astrological signs. Dragons are born leaders and masters of ceremonies. They are idealists, perfectionists, aggressive and determined.
A person born under the dragon is usually fashionable and can adapt to many different styles of life. Using their keen sense of imagination, Dragons are forever dreaming up fresh schemes and ideas for new adventures (which are mostly futile). Unfortunately, they often drive their friends crazy with their "wild" schemes that usually lead to nowhere.
On the good side however, Dragon-types are also surrounded by good fortune, which saves them from making major mistakes. They are well suited to careers in the theatre, or any place that gives them a leading role.
Although they have the potential for making lots of money, they spend it lavishly on their projects. Dragons are not well suited to growing old and losing power, they lose their temper easily.
Women who are born under this sign are usually surrounded by admirers and very popular with the opposite sex. They are seldom disappointed in love.


February 4, 1905 to January 24, 1906 (wood)
January 23, 1917 to February 10, 1918 (fire)
February 10, 1929 to January 29, 1930 (earth)
January 27, 1941 to February 14, 1942 (metal)
February 14, 1953 to February 2, 1954 (water)
February 2, 1965 to January 20, 1966 (wood)
February 18, 1977 to February 6, 1978 (fire)
February 1989 to January 26 1990 (earth)

Celebrities include:
Mendelssohn - Jacqueline Onassis - Picasso - Audrey Hepburn

The person born in the year of the snake often make their way to the top of success. Unlike the Dragon however, they are more restrained and refined. They are in no means, pushy, and have a knack for being at the right place at the right time. They make decisions quickly and firmly.
Intelligent and careful, snake-people make good research scientists, philosophers, detectives, or professors. They have a very analytical mind, yet seem to have an ability to "sense" a good thing when they see it.
They lean toward elegance and expensiveness. It is unlikely to find a snake person wearing bold colors and gaudy dress. In money matters, the Snake has good fortune, but is often considered "tight", except with close friends and loved ones.
The Snake and its complementary sign, the Dragon, form the "House of Mystery" in Chinese mythology. The Dragon is the gaudy magician, the Snake is the contemplative mystic. The snake is closely associated with plots and counter-plots, scandal and corruption. The expression "long snake" in Chinese means "intrigue". Unlike in America, the traditional Chinese believe it unlucky to kill a snake which enters the house because it could be the bearer of good fortune.


January 25, 1906 to February 12, 1907 (fire)
February 11, 1918 to January 31, 1919 (earth)
January 30, 1930 to February 16, 1931 (metal)
February 15, 1942 to February 4, 1943 (water)
February 3, 1954 to January 23, 1955 (wood)
January 21, 1966 to February 8, 1967 (fire)
February 7, 1978 to January 27, 1979 (earth)
January 27, 1990 to February 14, 1991 (metal)

Celebrities include:
Thomas Edison - Leonard Bernstein - Barbara Streisand -
Clint Eastwood - Ingmar Bergman

The Horse personality often varies radically. In Asia, it is believed that those born in the years of the Horse may be tyrants, revolutionaries, or thieves. On the other hand, they have great capacity to excel. Others are often in awe of them, worship them, but seldom really understand them.
Horses are good at handling money, but often lose interest in their goals. Chinese believe that horses are born to race or travel, therefore Horse people leave home at a young age, and remain restless throughout their life. They are impatient, yet quick-witted with a huge ego. They have a hard time belonging anywhere for long.
Horse people do well in groups and is never short on conversation. Social contact is important to the Horse and they often form close relationships with others and will give up anything for a good romance.
The Horse represents desires and wishes they are usually associated with males. The ancients deemed the Year of the Horse to have masculine attributes. The hour of the Horse falls at high noon and the month of the Horse includes the Summer Solstice, which are both strong "yang" forces.

SHEEP (Goats)

February 13, 1907 to February 1, 1908 (fire)
February 1, 1919 to February 19, 1920 (earth)
February 17, 1931 to February 5, 1932 (metal)
February 5, 1943 to January 24, 1944 (water)
January 24, 1955 to February 11, 1956 (wood)
February 9, 1967 to January 29, 1968 (fire)
January 28, 1979 to February 15, 1980 (earth)
February 15, 1991 to February 3, 1992 (metal)

Celebrities include:
Rudolph Valentino - Boris Becker - King George VI - Veronica Lake

Sheep (Goats) are regarded by Chinese astrologers as having a strong essence of "Yin", therefore the most feminine of the animal signs. The are typically elegant, charming, artistic, and fond of natural items. Sheep personalities often find expression in craftsmanship rather than originality. They are very conservative and often leave their creative sides unexplored when it comes to career advancements.
Sheep are insecure and need to feel loved and needed. They shy away from confrontation and often follow the crowd instead of standing up for their true beliefs. They resent being led by others, although they allow it. This characteristic often leads them to ask for help, then resist it when it comes.
They study the esoteric, reading books on new-age beliefs, astrology, and fortune-telling. Because of their indecision, Sheep do not usually make good business people. They prefer to use their artistic talents and craftsmanship skills.
Sheep are typically very romantic and sensitive. They are hard to resist with their loving and caring nature, and make excellent spouses.


February 2, 1908 to January 21, 1909 (earth)
February 20, 1920 to February 7, 1921 (metal)
February 6, 1932 to January 25, 1933 (water)
January 25, 1944 to February 12, 1945 (wood)
February 12, 1956 to January 30, 1957 (fire)
January 30, 1968 to February 16, 1969 (earth)
February 16, 1980 to February 4, 1981 (metal)
February 4, 1992 to January 22, 1993 (water)

Celebrities include:
Julius Caesar - Leonardo daVinci - Captain Cook-
Elizabeth Taylor - Edgar Faure

Monkeys are never at a loss for words. They can make the most boring subject seem interesting. They are extremely inventive, with a quick-wittedness that none can rival. Their charm and good fortune follow them.
Despite their popularity, Monkeys are seldom taken seriously however, and this leads to much frustration. They project an image of mischief which many find unsettling.
The Monkey personality can do well at almost any type of work, and usually succeed in anything they try. Their success often makes them arrogant however, and can lead to isolation. Monkeys are exceptionally good a problem-solving and have a craving for knowledge.
They are one of the most popular and venerated of all Chinese characters. There are countless stories about the adventures of monkeys. The Monkey of legend has many innate skills, but only put them to good use when under the powerful restraint and skillful guidance of an enlightened one (as in "Journey to the West", a famous novel). They can easily self-destruct when left to their own initiatives.


January 22, 1909 to February 9, 1910 (earth)
February 8, 1921 to January 27, 1922 (metal)
January 26, 1933 to February 13, 1934 (water)
February 13, 1945 to February 1, 1946 (wood)
January 31, 1957 to February 17, 1958 (fire)
February 17, 1969 to February 5, 1970 (earth)
February 5, 1981 to January 24, 1982 (metal)
January 23, 1993 to February 9, 1994 (water)

Celebrities include:
Confucius - Katherine Hepburn

The Rooster is the counterpart of the Monkey and represents a "Yin" or feminine quality. They are often abrasive and aggressive, and are sometimes considered rude.
Roosters are very concerned with their appearance, and can spend many hours standing in front of mirrors. They often dress a bit colorful for some tastes, but are usually stylish.
Roosters are always busy, seldom being accused of being a couch potato. The have many talents and typically succeed in anything that they attempt. They make good detectives, doctors, nurses, and trouble-shooters. Rooster personalities have extremely high ideals and have little tolerance for those who don't. They often begin many projects at one time to keep busy, but this sometimes leads to family problems, as they have a tendency to ignore those who are closest although they remain deeply in love and fail to see any problem in the relationship.
Traditionally, Roosters are seen as the embodiment of direct, forceful and forthright behavior.


February 10, 1910 to January 29, 1911 (metal)
January 28, 1922 to February 15, 1923 (water)
February 14, 1934 to February 3, 1935 (wood)
February 2, 1946 to January 21, 1947 (fire)
February 18, 1958 to February 7, 1959 (earth)
February 6, 1970 to January 26, 1971 (metal)
January 25, 1982 to February 12, 1983 (water)
February 10, 1994 to January 30, 1995 (wood)

Celebrities include:
Winston Churchill - George Gershwin - Michael Jackson - Madonna

Dog personalities are honest, faithful, and sincere. They enjoy helping others. They can easily make friends, usually long-lasting. They are intelligent and are usually good listeners.
The Dog is a steady worker who becomes a trusted and valued member of any community. They are defensive where friends and family are concerned and refuse to listen to warnings when others are in danger. When truly frightened, Dogs react unpredictably. Their rare displays of intense anger is usually justified however. They easily forgive and forget.
Dogs are usually very active and like all types of outdoor sports. Although they are very generous and loyal, they often have romantic difficulties throughout their lifetimes unless their partner is very understanding and patient.
In Chinese astrology, the Dog and the Pig form the "House of Family". The Dog, being traditionally a protector and guardian of property, represents the materials and wealth of the home, rather than the people within it.


January 30, 1911 to February 127, 1912 (metal)
February 16, 1923 to February 4, 1924 (water)
February 4, 1935 to January 23, 1936 (wood)
January 22, 1947 to February 9, 1948 (fire)
February 8, 1959 to January 27, 1960 (earth)
January 27, 1971 to February 14, 1972 (metal)
February 13, 1983 to February 1, 1984 (water)
January 31, 1994 to February 18, 1996 (wood)

Celebrities include:
Woody Allen - Julie Andrews - Ronald Reagan -
Alfred Hitchcock - Steven Spielberg

The last of the twelve astrological signs, the Pig is the symbol of completion. Their ambitions are not so much with their current career, but with the benefits that they reap at the end of their careers. The Pig personality looks forward to retirement.
Unlike the animal that Americans think of when they consider a Pig, the Chinese consider the Pig as one of the most pleasant and productive animals. They are home-lovers who put a lot of attention toward family matters. Pigs are models of sincerity, purity, tolerance, and honor.
Pigs simply want to do everything right, and have an unrelenting optimistic attitude.
Pigs are industrious in business as well as home life. They finish the projects that they begin, and do so with great enthusiasm. In business, they can become extremely successful and usually reap the financial benefits of such accomplishments.
Pigs get along well with almost everyone, and they typically have a large and varied collection of good friends. Like the Monkey, the Pig is intellectual - a character with a great thirst for knowledge.
The Pig was such an integral part of the home in China that the Chinese character for "family" consists of the sign for a roof, under which is the character for a Pig.

Chinese poster 2

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