The fish is often associated with the Lunar New Year, with China, Vietnam and Thailand believing the fish to auspicious. In this activity, Hantastic Kids talk you through the links between the fish and Chinese celebrations for the New Year. 


The fish(鱼is a pun for ‘abundance’, ‘surplus’ or ‘plenty’ in Chinese language. Hence in Chinese culture fish has been an auspicious symbol for centuries. We often see a lot of them around Chinese New Year when people hope to have a lucky start of the year.



In this activity, learn about the symbolic meaning of fish in Chinese culture and create your own lucky fish poster to celebrate the start of Chinese Lunar New Year.



This activity has been created by Hantastic Kids, for the National Maritime Museum. 


Materials for the activity: gold and red paper, small bits of coloured paper, glue, scissors, a bowl, a small lid, a pencil and two googgly eyes are optional.

You will need: 

Craft paper: red x 1; yellow (gold) x 1; assorted colours x 3 of your choice. Note: red and yellow are the key festive colours of Chinese New Year. 

A pencil

A pair of scissors


A round bowl or small dish

A small bottle cap

Googly eyes x 2 (non-essential as you can draw the fish eyes!)


Step 1: Create your basic shapes

Cut the red paper into a large square.

Draw a large circle on the yellow (gold) sheet with the bowl.

Draw 8 circles on the assorted paper as well as the yellow (gold) paper. You will need two round shapes of each colour.

A square piece of red paper. A bowl on top of gold paper to be drawn around. Small pieces of paper with small circles drawn on.

Step 2: Cut out your shapes

Cut out all your basic shapes ready to use.

A piece of red paper in a square. A piece of gold paper in a large circle. Eight small circles in gold, pink, yellow and blue patterned paper.

Step 3: Refine the shapes

Cut the body of your fish - draw a “S” shape line (like a Ying-Yang style) on the large round shape first. Follow the line to cut it into two parts.

Cut the small round shapes into halves.

A square piece of red paper. Two pieces of gold paper cut into ying-yang shapes (or teardrops). Eight small circles cut almost in half.

Step 4: Decorate your fish

Place the body of fish in the centre of the red square. Stick the googly eyes on, or, draw the eyes. Place the small half rounds in place - to create tails, fins, scales of your fish.

A piece of red square paper with two fish decorated on using cut out paper shapes.

For instructions in EN and traditional CN:

For instructions in EN and simplified CN: 

There you go. Looks like this lucky fish poster is ready to create the Chinese New Year vibe!

You can use scrap paper and old magazines to give the fish unique looks.