Chinese New Year Greetings

Chinese New Year is a grand occasion in China and matters a lot for Chinese people all over the world. Do you know any traditional sayings for the Chinese New Year? Here are some simple but practical Chinese New Year greetings and wishes for 2021. Learn the best sayings with us and say some of them to your family and friends!

How to Say Happy New Year in Chinese

As a large country, China contains many dialects besides Mandarin (standardized Chinese). The most popular one is Cantonese which is widely used in southern China like Hong Kong, Macao, and Guangdong Province.

Chinese New Year greetings in Mandarin and Cantonese pronounce totally different, even though they share the same meanings and characters. As Chinese is one of the tonal languages, Mandarin has 4 tones which mark as symbols in Pinyin, while Cantonese has 9 tones which mark as numbers in Pinyin.

Here are three traditional ways to say "Happy New Year" in Chinese:

English Chinese In Mandarin In Cantonese
Happy New Year! 新年快乐! xīn nián kuài lè  san1 nin4 faai3 lok6 
新年好! xīn nián hǎo  san1 nin4 hou2 
过年好! guò nián hǎo  gwo3 nin4 hou2 

Beginnings of Greetings

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year

You can add beginning like "祝您 (zhù nín)" or "祝你 (zhù nǐ)" ahead of the greetings.

"祝 (zhù)" means "wish", "您 (nín)" and "你 (nǐ)" means "you", the person to whom you send the wishes. The word "您" is more formal than "你". To show respects, "祝您" is usually used for the elders or superiors, "祝你" is used for the young or close friends.

So, you can say "Wishing you a happy new year!" completely as below.

祝您:新年快乐!  zhù nín xīn nián kuài lè
祝你:新年快乐!  zhù nǐ xīn nián kuài lè

Most Popular Chinese New Year Greetings for 2021


The most popular Chinese New Year greeting in southern China (Cantonese-speaking regions) is gung hay fat choy (恭喜发财 gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4), which is a blessing for wealth and prosperity. Maybe it's because most of the people in southern China engage in trade, most of the New Year greetings and New Year songs from Cantonese-speaking regions are related to wealth and business.

Among the numerous Chinese New Year greeting phrases, some are simple but with people’s most common wishes. Below are the most popular lucky phrases to say on Chinese New Year:

新年快乐!  xīn nián kuài lè Happy Chinese New Year!
新春快乐!  xīn chūn kuài lè Happy Spring Festival!
牛年快乐!  niú nián kuài lè Happy Year of the Ox!
牛气大吉!  niú nián dà jí May you a Lucky Year of the OX!

Best Wishes for Business

恭喜发财!  gōng xǐ fā cái May you be prosperous!
财源广进!  cái yuán guǎng jìn Wishing you plenty of money!
生意兴隆!  shēng yì xīng lóng Wishing you a prosperous business!
工作顺利!  gōng zuò shùn lì May your work go smoothly!
事业有成!  shì yè yǒu chéng Wishing you get ahead with your career!

Best Wishes for Health

身体健康!  shēn tǐ jiàn kāng Wishing you good health!
龙马精神!  lóng mǎ jīng shén Wishing you full of vigor!
岁岁平安!  suì suì píng ān May you have peace all year round!

Best Wishes for Family

阖家欢乐!  hé jiā huān lè Wishing you a happy family life!
阖家团圆!  hé jiā tuán yuán Wishing you enjoy the family reunion!

Best Wishes for Friends

大吉大利!  dà jí dà lì Good luck!
心想事成!  xīn xiǎng shì chéng May all your wishes come true.
万事如意!  wàn shì rú yì May all go well with you!

Best Wishes for Students

学习进步!  xué xí jìn bù Wish you good progress in your studies!
学业有成!  xué yè yǒu chéng Wishing you academic success!
金榜题名!  jīn bǎng tí míng Wish you success in the examination!

It is a tradition for Chinese people to greet with best wishes during the Chinese New Year, which shows their joy and love for each other. Now you've learned, why not say "Xin Nian Kuai Le" loudly to the one around you!

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