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How to Say Happy Chinese New Year in Mandarin and Cantonese

Written by CindyUpdated Oct. 23, 2023

On this page, we've got the top ways to say "Happy Chinese New Year" in Chinese and Cantonese which you will use during the Chinese New Year period, which is from Chinese New Year's day (Feb. 10, 2024) up to the 15th day of the Chinese New Year (Feb 24, 2024).

As 2024 is a year of the Dragon, we've also prepared popular greetings with Dragon symbolism to help you wish a happy New Year to your friends.

3 Ways to Say "Happy Chinese New Year" in Chinese and Cantonese

In Mandarin, the most common way to wish your family and close friends a happy Chinese New Year is "Xīnnián hǎo" (新年好), literally meaning 'New Year Goodness' or 'Good New Year'. Another way to say "Happy Chinese New Year" is "Xīnnián kuàilè" (新年快乐), literally meaning 'New Year happiness'. It is a formal greeting typically used for strangers.

In Cantonese, the common way to say 'Happy Lunar New Year' is "Gong hei fat choy" (恭喜发财), which means 'Wishing you happiness and prosperity.'

1. 新年好 - 'New Year Goodness' (popular way)

  • In Mandarin: xīn nián hǎo /sshin-nyen haoww/

  • In Cantonese: san nin hou

2. 新年快乐 — 'New Year happiness' (formal way)

  • In Mandarin: xīn nián kuài lè /sshin-nyen kwhy-ler/

  • In Cantonese: sun nin fai lok

3. 恭喜发财 — 'Happiness and prosperity' (in Mandarin)

  • In Mandarin: gōng xǐ fā cái /gong-sshee faa-tseye/

  • In Cantonese: gong hay fat choy

happy chinese new year, gong xi fa cai, gong hay fat choy

3 Most Popular Chinese New Year Greeting Phrases

Usually, you only have to greet people like this the first time you see them in the new Chinese calendar year, and after that, you can return to normal Chinese greetings (e.g. Nihǎo).

1. 大吉大利 — Lots of luck and profits!

  • In Mandarin: dà jí dà lì /daa-jee daa-lee /

  • In Cantonese: dai gut dai lei

2. 万事如意 — May all go well with you!

  • In Mandarin: wàn shì rú yì /wann-shrr roo-ee/

  • In Cantonese: mahn si yuh yi

3. 步步高升 Step-by-step high promotion (Promoting to a higher position)

  • In Mandarin: bùbù gāoshēng /boo-boo gaoww-shnng/

  • In Cantonese: /boh-boh goh-sshin/

Click to see more Chinese New Year greetings and wishes.

chinese new year greetings

How to Wish Someone Happy Chinese New Year 2024

As 2024 will be a year of the Dragon, you could wish your friends a Happy Dragon Year with the below lucky phrases!

1. 龙年快乐 — Happy year of the Dragon!

2. 龙年大吉 — Wishing you lots of luck this Dragon year!

3. 龙年兴旺 — Wishing you a prosperous year of the Dragon!

4. 愿你龙马精神,健康快乐!
In this Year of the Dragon, may you be energized and full of vitality, stay healthy and happy!

5. 祝你龙年幸福安康!
May your year of the Rabbit be full of happiness and health!

How Do You Respond to "Happy Chinese New Year"?

When someone greets 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 wish you the same.

How to Write 'Happy Chinese New Year' in Chinese?

Want to write a New Year's card to your friends in China? Here's how you can write "happy Chinese New Year" in Chinese, stroke by stroke.

"Happy New Year"is written "新年快乐"in simplified Chinese characters.

The character for 'New'(新Xīn /sshin/) comes first:

 Write 'Happy New Year' in Chinese

The second, 年(Nián /nyen/) is the character for 'Year':

 Write 'Happy New Year' in Chinese

The last two characters快乐(kuàilè /kwhy-luh/) together mean 'happy'. On its own, the Chinese character 快(kuài) can mean 'fast':

 Write 'Happy New Year' in Chinese

The last character is 乐 (lè):

 Write 'Happy New Year' in Chinese

And there you have it!

 'Happy New Year' in Chinese and English
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