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Chinese New Year Greetings — Popular Phrases and Meanings

Happy Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2016 will take place from February 8 to 22.  During the Lunar New Year period Chinese people greet one another with unique sayings when they meet, where ordinarily they would not greet people with whom they do not have a personal relationship.

The following are some words and phrases that are used as greetings at Chinese New Year (with their Chinese characters, pinyin Romanization for Mandarin Chinese, and English translation).

Beginnings of Greetings and Sayings

Greeting an older (or respected) person is a little different in Chinese: nín for 'you', instead of the common . For example:

祝您……

Zhu nín... (/joo neen/)

Wish you (older/respected) ...

祝你……

Zhu nǐ ... (/joo nee/)

Wish you (younger/informal) ...

The Most Popular Greetings for Monkey Year 2016

猴年吉祥

Hóunián jíxiáng

Good luck for this Monkey year

猴年大吉

Hóunián dàjí

Lots of luck for this Monkey year

More Complex Greetings for Monkey Year 2016

This sentence gives people five best wishes for this Monkey year.

猴年送你五只猴:

Hóunián sòng nǐ wǔzhī hóu:

This Monkey year, I give you five monkeys:

机灵诡秘如猕猴,

jīling guǐmì rú míhóu,

the ingenuity of the macaque,

健康快乐像马猴,

jiànkāng kuàilè xiàng mǎhóu,

the health and happiness of the monkey,

悠闲富贵似猴子,

yōuxián fùguì shì hóuzi,

the leisure and wealth of monkey-kind,

无忧无虑比猿猴,

wúyōu wúlǜ bǐ yuánhóu,

the lightheartedness of apes and monkeys,

聪明伶俐胜孙猴。

cōngmíng línglì shèng sūnhóu.

and intelligence and wit surpassing the Monkey King.

This sentence gives three best wishes for the new Monkey year — i.e. a bright future, good knowledge, and great success. Mirroring the Monkey King's abilities, it sounds more entertaining.

祝你猴年前程

Zhù nǐ hóu nián qiánchéng

I wish you in the Monkey year ahead

一个筋斗十万八千里,

yīgè jīndǒu shí wàn bāqiān lǐ,

a somersault of 9,000 kilometers (18,000 li),

兼七十二变混世才学,

jiān qīshí'èr biàn hùnshì cáixué,

72 simultaneous transformations in scholarliness,

具八十一种创业本领。

jù bāshíyī zhǒng chuàngyè běnlǐng.

and 81 kinds of creative skill

Common Greetings and Sayings for the Chinese New Year

新年好

Xīnnián hǎo

Happy New Year

过年好

Guònián hǎo

Happy New Year

新年快乐

Xīnnián kuàilè

Happy New Year

新春快乐

Xīnchūn kuàilè

Happy 'New Spring'

春节快乐

Chūnjié kuàilè

Happy Spring Festival

吉祥如意

jíxiáng rúyì

Good fortune according to your wishes

年年有余

Niánnián yǒuyú

Surplus year-after-year

吉星高照

Jíxīng gāozhào

Fortune will smile on you ('lucky star high shines')

心想事成

Xīnxiǎng shì chéng

May all your wishes come true.

大吉大利

Dàjí dàlì

Lots of luck and profits

Greetings and Sayings for Health

龙马精神

Lóng mǎ jīngshén

The spirit of the dragon and horse

身体健康

Shēntǐ jiànkāng

Enjoy good health

精灵活泼

Jīnglíng huópō

A bright and lively spirit (especially used for children under the age of 10, wishing them to be active and smart)

Greetings and Sayings at Work and for Business

恭喜发财

Gōngxǐ fācái

Happiness and prosperity (use this when receiving gifts or lucky money)

财源广进

Cáiyuán guǎngjìn

'Enter broadly wealth's source'

工作顺利

Gōngzuò shùnlì

May your work go smoothly

事业有成

Shìyè yǒuchéng

Success in your career

平步青云

Píngbù qīngyún

Have a meteoric rise (usually to wish for promotions)

马到成功

Mǎ dào chénggōng

Instant success

步步高升

Bùbù gāoshēng

Promotions at every step

一帆风顺

Yīfān fēngshùn

May your life go smoothly.

升官发财

Shēngguān fācái

Win promotion and get rich

生意兴隆

Shēngyì xīnglóng

Prosperous business

Greetings and Sayings for Students

学业有成

Xuéyè yǒuchéng

Prosperous business

学习进步

Xuéxí jìnbù

Progress in studies

金榜题名

Jīnbǎng tímíng

Success in the examination (for those taking an important examination, including students.

Greetings and Sayings for the Family

阖家欢乐

Héjiā huānlè

Felicity of the whole family

阖家幸福

Héjiā xìngfú

Happiness for the whole family

Interesting Greeting

恭喜发财,红包拿来

Gōngxǐ fācái, hóngbāo ná lái

Wishing you happiness and prosperity; give me a red envelope.

Use this to greet someone if you're expecting lucky money. Only say this to close friends and relations. Don't say it to strangers or in a formal setting, to avoid looking presumptuous or ridiculous.

Further Reading