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Chinese New Year Greetings: Lucky Phrases and Meanings

Chinese people greet one another with unique sayings when they meet during the Chinese New Year. 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). 

These happy New Year messages, well wishes and quotes will enable you share the joy and love during the festive period.

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) ...

Basic Greetings and Sayings

1. 新年好

Xīnnián hǎo

Happy New Year

2. 过年好

Guònián hǎo

Happy New Year

3. 新年快乐

Xīnnián kuàilè

Happy New Year

4. 新春快乐

Xīnchūn kuàilè

Happy 'New Spring'

5. 春节快乐

Chūnjié kuàilè

Happy Spring Festival

6. 吉祥如意

jíxiáng rúyì

Good fortune according to your wishes

7. 年年有余

Niánnián yǒuyú

Surplus year-after-year

8. 吉星高照

Jíxīng gāozhào

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

9. 心想事成

Xīnxiǎng shì chéng

May all your wishes come true.

10. 大吉大利

Dàjí dàlì

Lots of luck and profits

Greetings and Sayings for Health

1. 龙马精神

Lóng mǎ jīngshén

The spirit of the dragon and horse

2. 身体健康

Shēntǐ jiànkāng

Enjoy good health

3. 机灵活泼

Jīlíng 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

1. 恭喜发财

Gōngxǐ fācái

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

2. 财源广进

Cáiyuán guǎngjìn

'Enter broadly wealth's source'

3. 工作顺利

Gōngzuò shùnlì

May your work go smoothly

4. 事业有成

Shìyè yǒuchéng

Success in your career

5. 平步青云

Píngbù qīngyún

Have a meteoric rise (usually to wish for promotions)

6. 马到成功

Mǎ dào chénggōng

Instant success

7. 步步高升

Bùbù gāoshēng

Promotions at every step

8. 一帆风顺

Yīfān fēngshùn

May your life go smoothly.

9. 升官发财

Shēngguān fācái

Win promotion and get rich

10. 生意兴隆

Shēngyì xīnglóng

Prosperous business

Greetings and Sayings for Students

1. 学业有成

Xuéyè yǒuchéng

Prosperous business

2. 学习进步

Xuéxí jìnbù

Progress in studies

3. 金榜题名

Jīnbǎng tímíng

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

Greetings and Sayings for the Family

1. 阖家欢乐

Héjiā huānlè

Felicity of the whole family

2. 阖家幸福

Héjiā xìngfú

Happiness for the whole family

Funny New Year 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.

How to Respond to "Happy New Year"?

When someone greet you with "新年快乐 (Xīnnián kuàilè, Happy New Year)", the best and simple replies are: 

1. "新年快乐 (Xīnnián kuàilè)"
2. "Happy New Year to you too, thank you"
3. Thank you,  and the same to you.
4. Thank you, and wish you the same.

Further Reading