In 2018, Lunar New Year celebrations kick off on February 16th. While many Americans know it as Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration with family, parades, fireworks, and so much more. Whether you want to celebrate the holiday in one of the many Asian countries that observe it, in your local city’s Chinatown, or from the comfort of your own home, you should know these Chinese New Year sayings.
Unlike New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, which last only one day and are based on the solar calendar, Lunar New Year is based on the moon cycle. While we often refer to the holiday as “Chinese New Year,” other Asian nations have their own variations on Lunar New Year.
To help you learn Chinese New Year sayings, we’re sticking with phrases that are used in China. If you don’t know how to read Chinese characters, no worries. The below list includes the traditional Chinese characters, the Chinese phonetic alphabet spelling (known as Pinyin romanization), and the Mandarin Chinese phrase translated into English. And if you’re still struggling, visit the website China Highlights to hear how these Chinese New Year sayings are pronounced.
Happy New Year
There are at least three ways to say, “Happy New Year” — all with slight variations.
- “New Year happiness”
Xīnnián kuàilè (新年快乐)
- “New Year goodness”
Xīnnián hǎo (新年好)
- “Pass the New Year well”
Guònián hǎo (过年好)
Year of the Dog sayings
2018 is the Year of the Dog, and based on the Chinese calendar, these phrases won’t be used for another 12 years. Make sure you use them now.
- “Good luck for this Dog year”
Gǒu nián jíxiáng (狗年吉祥)
- “Lots of luck for this Dog year”
Gǒu nián dàjí(狗年大吉)
Spring Festival messages
The Lunar New Year is also referred to as the Spring Festival, so get excited about flowers blooming with these sayings.
- “Happy New Spring”
Xīnchūn kuàilè (新春快乐)
- “Happy Spring Festival”
Chūnjié kuàilè (春节快乐)
Sayings for prosperity
One tradition of the Lunar New Year is for older people to give younger people good luck money in red envelopes, called lai see. Even if you won’t be doling out cash to people, you can still wish them wealth for the new year with these phrases.
- “Wide sources of wealth”
Cáiyuán guǎng jìn (财源广进)
- “Get a promotion and get rich”
Shēngguān fācái (升官发财)
- “Good fortune according to your wishes”
Jíxiáng rúyì (吉祥如意)
No matter how you choose to celebrate the Lunar New Year in 2018, we wish you xīnnián kuàilè!