To learn more about Lunar New Year, my kids and I are watching Chinese New Year YouTube videos! I’ve put together a list of our favorites which cover Chinese New Year traditions in addition to popular Chinese music videos in English and Mandarin Chinese!
Since I’m raising multilingual children in a non-diverse, American town, videos help show my kids that Chinese people like us exist! And for Chinese Lunar New Year, we get to learn about fun traditions. Even if we can’t partake in big city festivities, we can celebrate Lunar New Year at school or home (vicariously) through these interesting videos.
The videos in this post intentionally feature real people rather than cartoons. When you can see people speaking or singing, new Chinese words might be easier to remember.
However, if you are screen-free, you can simply turn your phone face-down while playing the music. You can also stream the music to Bluetooth speakers.
More Chinese New Year resources for families and schools
- 20+ Fun Chinese New Year Activities for Kids!
- Happy New Year Coloring Pages in Chinese and English
- 20 Great Chinese New Year Books in Chinese and English
In these Chinese New Year videos, you’ll notice that celebrations are saturated with the lucky red color! Family reunions are also an important part of the holiday as well as the Chinese zodiac animals. Before or after learning about Chinese cultural traditions, you can also have fun listening to popular Lunar New Year songs from the music videos in this post!
Chinese New Year videos about culture in English
1. How Chinese people celebrate Chinese New Year
Yoyo Chinese gives a great overview of popular Chinese traditions with cute infographics in fluent English. A few key Chinese words are introduced in the video.
Audio: English; Subtitles: English
2. The myth behind the Chinese zodiac
This engaging animation reveals the interesting background behind the Chinese zodiac wheel and the 12 animals.
Audio: English; subtitles: English
Chinese New Year videos about culture in Mandarin
1. Chinese Holidays – New Year’s Day 新年
ChineseClass101.com has YouTube channel with many instructional videos for different levels of learners. Some playlists are for beginners and have a mix of English & Chinese. This video focuses on Chinese New Year traditions and the 新年好 song!
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: Simplified Chinese and English
2. Learn About Chinese New Year with Mama Laoshi | 和媽媽老師一起學過新年的傳統
My kids loveeeee Nancy Chang and her daughter Winter! She and her daughter give a fun and easy-to-follow overview of Lunar New Year traditions!
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Occasional subtitles: Traditional Chinese
3. Taoshu and Friends | Chinese New Year traditions in Mandarin
Taoshu and Friends is a popular Singaporean cartoon by Peach Blossom Media. The Peach Blossom YouTube Channel has a series of videos about Chinese culture with a mix of animation and real people, including this above video on Chinese New Year traditions
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: none
Related: If you prefer a screen-free option, check out the popular Taoshu Chinese picture books based on these Chinese videos. The books have large, easy-to-read simplified Chinese font!
4. 过年 守候的心意 | CCTV纪录
This is a long documentary about preparing for Chinese New Year reunion, feasts, traditions. Speech is faster-paced than the aformentioned videos.
Audio is in Mandarin Chinese; subtitles are in simplified Chinese.
Chinese New Year story time reading
1. 十二生肖 The Chinese Zodiac
This year, I felt brave and wanted to encourage everyone who’s learning Chinese with their kids by doing a read aloud for 十二生肖 The Chinese Zodiac! This was one of the first books I read with my children in Chinese, and the story is so fun and engaging for anyone who’s learning about the holiday. You can watch the video on Instagram here.
2. 過年啦! (立體操作書) Chinese Story Book Reading
This 3-D Chinese book is an interactive and fun way to learn about the Spring Festival.
Audio is in Mandarin Chinese; there are no subtitles.
Chinese New Year songs and music videos
1.王力宏 Wang Leehom《十二生肖》”12 Zodiacs”官方 Official MV (feat. Jackie Chan)
Wang Leehom is a Taiwanese American singer who created this modern Chinese pop song about the Chinese Zodiac!
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: Traditional Chinese
恭喜恭喜 is a popular, traditional Chinese New Year song – one of the first Mandarin Chinese songs that I learned with my children! This video features a young lady singing the Chinese New Year song, starting at the 0:17 second mark! The hand motions can be fun for your kids or even a whole class to learn together!
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: simplified Chinese and Pinyin
However, so far my favorite is this Shanghainese Jazz rendition by Ywenna! This is much more pleasant than most Chinese New Year songs!
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: simplified Chinese
3. Nick钟盛忠 Stella钟晓玉《贺新年》
The Nick and Stella Chung 钟盛忠 YouTube channel features many modern Chinese New Year songs, such as the famous song 贺新年. Please note that the above video contains Buddhist statues which are commonly found throughout Asia.
Audio: Mandarin Chinese; Subtitles: Simplified Chinese
Also, musician Vanessa Ding has a neat acoustic cover of 贺新年 with ukelele and guzheng. Note that there are no vocals in this version and the video ends at 1:35 seconds.
Cantonese Chinese New Year YouTube videos
If you’re looking for Cantonese Chinese New Year Videos, check out:
What is your favorite Chinese New Year video?
Which Chinese New Year video was most useful for your family or school? What other videos that you recommend? Please share in the comments – we’d love to learn about your experience!