Mike Cairnduff from Hello Teacher!

Updated November 16, 2018
By Mike Cairnduff

Year of the Dog in 2018

In 2018, over a billion people in China and around the world will celebrate Year of the Dog.

What is the Year of the Dog?

According to the Chinese Zodiac, each new year is represented by 1 of 12 animals. This year it’s the dog.

People born in the Year of the Dog can be described as loyal, honest and reliable.

The Year of the Dog starts next Friday, February 16. This marks the beginning of the Spring Festival, or in Western terms, Chinese New Year.

The next Year of the Dog isn’t until 2030.

How do people celebrate the Year of the Dog?

Like any Chinese New Year celebration, people will ring in the Year of the Dog with great enthusiasm and excitement.

You can’t escape the noise of firecrackers, especially in the first few days of Chinese New Year.

Firecrackers are banned in many countries around the globe – but certainly not in China!

It’s safe to say that firecrackers are in Chinese people’s DNA. It makes sense really, seeing as firecrackers and fireworks originated in China.


People will also celebrate the Year of the Dog by eating plenty of delicious, home-cooked food with their families and loved ones.

Fish is a popular food to eat during Chinese New Year as it sounds like the word for surplus (both are pronounced “yu”).

During Year of the Dog celebrations fish is a popular food to eat in China.

During Year of the Dog celebrations in 2018, lots of fish will be eaten in China.

So if you want 2018 to be a year of abundance, make sure you eat loads of fish!

What do people give each other for Chinese New Year?

People give out red envelopes, or red pockets, containing money.

This started as a tradition between close family and friends but you can now give a red envelope to practically anyone.


Parents will typically give both their children and parents red envelopes.

Kids may also give envelopes to their elders as a sign of respect and to wish them a year of good health and fortune.

With the advent of technology, many people are nowadays opting for digital red envelopes.

Where do people go during Chinese New Year?

People usually return to their hometown or take a holiday during Chinese New Year.

China’s huge migrant workforce will return home for the Year of the Dog.

It’s the only time of year for many of them to visit their family. That’s why they bring gifts with them like food and money.

China's migrant workers return to their hometown during Chinese New Year.

Many of China's migrant workers will return to their hometown for Year of the Dog celebrations and spend time with family.

According to a South China Morning Post video, the mass homecoming will result in 2.98 billion trips during this year’s festival period (February 1 to March 12). This includes:

  • 2.48 billion by car
  • 390 million by train
  • 65 million by airplane
  • 46 million by boat.

It’s no wonder it's referred to as the world’s largest annual human migration!

For affluent Chinese, overseas vacations are becoming increasingly popular each year. The Year of the Dog will see this trend continue.

According to a blog published by China Skinny, travellers are expected to head to 68 countries this Chinese New Year – 7% more than last year.

Thailand is set to welcome 400,000 Chinese visitors during the New Year while tiny Macau, one of China’s special administrative regions, is expecting 960,000 mainland tourists.

Chinese tourists are expected to flock to Thailand during Year of the Dog celebrations.

Thailand is a popular destination for affluent Chinese tourists during Spring Festival (pictured: sun lounges on Patong Beach, Phuket).

Which famous people were born in the Year of the Dog?

American presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump were all born in the Year of the Dog.

The most famous couple in Britain, Prince William and Princess Kate, were born in the Year of the Dog, so too were music ‘royalty’ including Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna.

What does the Year of the Dog mean for ESL teachers?

For foreign English teachers, Year of the Dog celebrations mean a well-deserved break as classes come to a screaming halt. It’s a great time to wind down, take stock and mentally prepare for the next term.

We recommend staying put during Chinese New Year festivities, unless jam-packed train stations and airports are your thing.

Enjoy the festivities and stay safe!

How are you going to ring in the Year of the Dog? Please comment below.

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