How Do You Say Happy New Year in Chinese

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is one of the most important and widely celebrated holidays in China and among Chinese communities worldwide. It marks the beginning of the new lunar year and is a time for family reunions, feasting, and the exchange of good wishes. A common greeting during this festive season is “Happy New Year.” However, in Chinese, there are multiple ways to convey this warm wish. In this article, we’ll explore the various ways to say “Happy New Year” in Chinese and provide some cultural context.

1. “新年快乐” (Xīnnián kuàilè)

Pronunciation: shin-nyen kway-luh

This is the most straightforward and widely used way to say “Happy New Year” in Mandarin Chinese. “新年” (xīnnián) means “New Year,” and “快乐” (kuàilè) means “happy” or “joyful.” This phrase is universally understood and is suitable for all occasions during the Chinese New Year celebration.

2. “新年好” (Xīnnián hǎo)

Pronunciation: shin-nyen how

Similar to the previous greeting, “新年好” (xīnnián hǎo) means “New Year good” or “New Year well.” While it’s less common than “新年快乐,” it’s still a friendly and appropriate way to wish someone a happy New Year.

3. “恭喜发财” (Gōngxǐ fācái)

Pronunciation: gong-shee faa-tsai

This is a particularly popular phrase used during the Chinese New Year, and it’s more than just a simple “Happy New Year” greeting. “恭喜” (gōngxǐ) means “congratulations,” “发” (fā) means “to get” or “to make,” and “财” (cái) means “wealth” or “money.” So, “恭喜发财” (gōngxǐ fācái) can be understood as “Congratulations on getting rich” or “Wishing you prosperity.” It’s a greeting often used when giving red envelopes (hongbao), which are filled with money and given as gifts during the holiday.

4. “年年有余” (Nián nián yǒu yú)

Pronunciation: nyen nyen yo yoo

This phrase is another way to express wishes for prosperity and abundance in the coming year. “年” (nián) means “year,” “年” (nián) is repeated to indicate “year after year,” “有” (yǒu) means “have,” and “余” (yú) means “surplus” or “extra.” So, “年年有余” (nián nián yǒu yú) can be translated as “May you have surpluses year after year” or “Wishing you abundance every year.”

5. “吉祥如意” (Jíxiáng rúyì)

Pronunciation: jee-shyang roo-yee

This greeting conveys wishes for good luck and a smooth, auspicious year. “吉祥” (jíxiáng) means “auspicious” or “lucky,” and “如意” (rúyì) means “as you wish.” Together, “吉祥如意” (jíxiáng rúyì) means “May everything go as you wish” or “Wishing you good luck.”

6. “万事如意” (Wànshì rúyì)

Pronunciation: wahn-shir roo-yee

Similar to “吉祥如意,” “万事如意” (wànshì rúyì) expresses the wish for everything to go smoothly and as desired. “万” (wàn) means “ten thousand” and is used figuratively to mean “everything.” “事” (shì) means “matter” or “thing.” So, “万事如意” (wànshì rúyì) translates to “May everything go as you wish.”

7. “年年高升” (Nián nián gāoshēng)

Pronunciation: nyen nyen gow-shung

This phrase expresses wishes for advancement and growth in the coming year. “年” (nián) means “year,” “年” (nián) is repeated for emphasis, “高” (gāo) means “high” or “elevated,” and “升” (shēng) means “rise” or “advance.” Therefore, “年年高升” (nián nián gāoshēng) can be interpreted as “May you advance year after year” or “Wishing you continuous success and promotion.”

8. “福” (Fú)

Pronunciation: foo

The character “福” (fú) represents “good fortune” or “blessing.” It is often displayed upside down on doorways during the Chinese New Year because the word for “upside down” in Mandarin, “倒” (dào), sounds like the word for “arrive” or “pour in” (到, dào). So, “福” (fú) symbolizes the arrival of good luck and blessings.

Cultural Significance

The Chinese New Year is a time of family gatherings, honoring traditions, and wishing for good fortune and prosperity. The greetings exchanged during this festive season reflect these values and aspirations. Whether you use the simple and commonly heard “新年快乐” or one of the more elaborate wishes like “恭喜发财,” these expressions convey warmth and goodwill as you celebrate the beginning of the lunar new year with loved ones.