Happy Chinese New Year! Teaching English in Asia During Holidays

恭喜发财 - “Congratulations and Be Prosperous!"  

Greetings to nearly 2 billion people in China, Asia and throughout the world who are celebrating the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday of the year for millions from Shanghai to Singapore. Centuries old and based in ancient Chinese myth and tradition, the “Spring Festival” as it is known in China is a two-week celebration centered around family gatherings, special foods and other traditions that vary from region to region. Many of these customs revolve around the ideals of reflecting on oneself and ushering in good fortune for the New Year.  The Lunar New Year in 2019 begins on February 5 and is the Year of the Pig.  From ChinaKorea and Vietnam to Taiwan and Malaysia, this holiday is a cultural focal point in many of the most popular destinations for certified English teachers.  

Teaching English in Asia

Here are just some of the countries where this holiday is being celebrated and where you could be living and teaching English this year. 

China – Many people will clean their houses, and families will gather to feast on duck, fish and sweets.  Children receive money in red envelopes symbolizing good luck and the two-week celebration typically ends with the Red Lantern when colorful lights are hung throughout the community.

teaching english in Asia


Taiwan – Posters depicting various gods and spirits are posted on doors to drive away evil spirits and temples are crowded with worshippers gathering to burn incense and present offerings to ensure good fortune in the New Year.

lunar new year in china

Hong Kong –  The city’s flower markets are in full bloom as residents purchase elaborate bouquets for friends and relatives.  Gathering for large family meals in traditional restaurants prior to New Year Day is another ritual that many Hong Kong residents engage in to celebrate the annual holiday.

TET new year in vietnam

Vietnam  - The Vietnamese celebrate Tet – as the holiday is famously known – by gathering for a dinner of traditional foods like bánh ch ung (a square cake made of sticky rice stuffed with beans and pork), mang (a soup of boiled bamboo shoots and pork) and xôi gấc (orange sticky rice). It is also common to see the streets filled with people on bicycles and motorbikes carrying home a traditional “Tet tree” or tac, which is a cone shaped fruit tree with miniature oranges.

Lunary New Year Korea

The Lunar New Year is also celebrated in such countries as South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.  Many of these nations represent some of the best job markets and most exciting destinations in the world for English teachers.  Indeed, in most East Asian countries, English teachers can expect to make enough to save 30%-50% of their salary after expenses, and in some countries schools will also provide free housing and/or free airfare from the teacher’s home country.  Read more about some of these countries Top 5 Countries to Make the Most Money Teaching English Overseas.

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