The biggest holiday in Chinese culture is New Year’s Eve. Greeting one another on New Year not only spread positive energy but also holds great cultural significance. Chinese New Year greetings are fun-filled and bring people closer. You can study Mandarin by yourself to know more about Chinese traditions and customs.
Want to learn a language at italki?
Here are the best resources for you!
New Year’s Eve has great significance in Chinese culture. It is the time for people to get closer to their friends, lovers, and family. Greeting people a happy Chinese New Year is cool but do you know Chinese? If not, this guide will make your learning journey super fun.
There are several classic and new Chinese New Year greetings. All these greetings have their place in Chinese culture. In this guide, we will explore some of the fun and festive ways to send New Year greetings in Chinese. These greetings will help you to have one of the best times of your life this New Year.
Details about Chinese New Year
As we shared earlier, New Year is the most important holiday in Chinese culture. These celebrations last for almost two weeks and have various entertaining activities and events. 农历新年 (nóng lì xīn nián – Lunar New Year) or 春节 (chūn jié – Spring Festival) is celebrated on the first month of the lunar calendar, from the 1st to the 15th day.
Visiting friends and family
On this Eve, it is customary to meet and greet loved ones. Greeting on this Eve means wishing people around good fortune for the coming year. Visiting people at their homes is a New Year tradition in Chinese culture. This practice is generally called 拜年 (bài nián).
Upon visiting one another, people exchange gifts to express their love and gratitude. The gifts usually include fruit, candy, cakes, and envelopes with cash (red), called 红包 (hóng bāo).
Some gifts are considered taboo that should not be brought on New Year’s Eve. Gifts that are associated with funerals such as towels and handkerchiefs should not be given. There are some flowers such as chrysanthemums are also considered offensive and unpleasant.
Chinese people do not like gifting one another clocks. They believe that gifting clocks mean they are running out of time. Any kind of sharp object is also considered unlucky because it can cut ties and relations.
Learning Chinese online can help you understand these traditions quite well. It will make you learn about the activities that are welcome in Chinese culture as well as those that are offensive and disturbing. It will help you know about the gift-giving customs in China.
Chinese New Year customs and activities
Along with the gifts, people visit open-air markets that are arranged especially for the Chinese New Year. These markets are usually filled with people. In these open-air markets, you can buy food, small gifts, cut flowers, house plants, and other New Year stuff.
There are different kinds of flowers that are an essential part of the New Year greetings in Chinese. Some of these flowers include: plum blossoms 梅花 (méi huā), kumquat 金橘 (jīn jú) and narcissus 水仙花 (shuǐ xiān huā).
Chinese also light hit firecrackers, or 放鞭炮 (fàng biān pào), as they are considered a symbol of sending away bad luck and the evil eye. They also love watching dragon dances or 舞龙 (wǔ lóng). In this dance form, dancers dance chasing one another while holding a pearl. There are several traditional songs known as “新年好呀” (xīn nián hǎo yā) that are usually played on New Year’s Eve.
In China, people mostly wear red on New Year. They consider red a lucky color. That is the reason, red is widely seen at New Year, Chinese weddings, and events. For decoration, the Chinese usually write several sayings on red paper called 春贴 (chūn tiē) or 挥春 (huī chūn) or show paper cuttings called 剪纸图 (jiǎn zhǐ tú)—a special art that offers images of animals and flowers, etc. You need to learn to read Chinese to understand these paper cuttings and images.
How to say New Year in Chinese
There are two most common ways to say New Year in Chinese:
新年好！ (xīn nián hǎo)
Have a good New Year!
新年快乐！ (xīn nián kuài lè)
Have a Happy New Year!
Both of these phrases are widely used and are accepted wholeheartedly. Generally, you start greeting by uttering the name of the person especially if the person is older or has some sort of authority. For instance:
“奶奶，新年快乐！” (nǎi nǎi，xīn nián kuài lè)
“Grandma, Happy New Year!
“王老板，新年好。” (wáng lǎo bǎn，xīn nián hǎo)
“Mr. (Boss) Wong, Happy New Year.”
25 most common Chinese New Year Greetings
Chinese people value wealth and money. They do not shy about talking about money and consider it appropriate to send money-related greetings at New Year. Following is the list of Chinese greetings that is related to wealth and richness.
1. 恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái)
“Wish you wealth and prosperity.”
2. 财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn)
“May wealth flow in.”
3. 和气生财 (hé qì shēng cái)
“May harmony bring wealth.”
4. 金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng)
“May your gold and jade fill the halls.”
5. 一本萬利 (yī běn wàn lì)
“Hope you put in a small investment and reap a huge profit.”
6. 招財進寶 (zhāo cái jìn bǎo)
“May you find wealth and treasures.”
7. 財源滾滾 (cái yuán gǔn gǔn)
“May wealth come pouring in.”
8. 大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì)
“May you have great luck and great profit.”
9. 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú)
“May you have abundance every year.”
Chinese New Year greetings for success
Chinese New Year greetings also include wishes related to success in work and business. Following are the greetings related to success:
10. 事业发达 (shì yè fā dá）
“May your career take off.”
11. 升官发财 (shēng guān fā cái)
“May you get promoted and receive a raise.”
12. 生意兴隆 (shēng yì xīng lóng)
“May your business flourish.”
13. 學業進步 (xué yè jìn bù)
“May your studies improve.”
14. 步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng)
“May every step take you higher.”
15. 新年進步 (xīn nián jìn bù)
“May the New Year bring much better things.”
Greeting people joy, well-being, and harmony
It is very important to wish people joy, well-being, and harmony. The below phrases are perfect to greet New Year to elder people.
16. 心想事成 (xīn xiǎng shì chéng)
“May all your wishes come true.”
17. 万事如意 (wàn shì rú yì)
“May everything go well with you.”
18. 笑口常開 (xiào kǒu cháng kāi)
“May you smile often.”
19. 五福臨門 (wǔ fú lín mén)
“May the five blessings come to you.” (Longevity, wealth, health, virtue, and a natural death.)
20. 身体健康 (shēn tǐ jiàn kāng)
“Wish you good health.”
21. 竹報平安 (zhú bào píng ān)
“May you hear tidings of peace.”
22. 福壽雙全 (fú shòu shuāng quán)
“May you enjoy both longevity and blessing.”
23. 岁岁平安 (suì suì píng ān)
“May you have peace at every age.”
24. 和氣吉祥全家樂 (hé qì jí xiáng quán jiā lè)
“Wish you harmony and joy for the whole family.”
25. 四季平安過旺年 (sì jì píng ān guò wàng nián)
“Wish you four seasons of peace and a flourishing year.”
All these Chinese New Year greetings hold great importance. All these greetings bring harmony and prosperity. It is also essential to learn common Chinese characters to speak and greet people on New Year like native speakers.
Learning Chinese is fun. You can seek assistance from online Chinese teachers to get fluent in Chinese. All you are required to be consistent. Learn all these Chinese New Year greetings gradually. Practice them on daily basis. This practice will not only make you fluent but will also boost your confidence to speak Chinese in front of people without any mistakes.
Find Your Perfect Teacher
At italki, you can find your Chinese tutor from all qualified and experienced teachers. Now experience the excellent language learning journey!Book a trial lesson