Are you lost when it comes to using the appropriate greeting during Chinese New Year?
Ever get tongue-tied when greeting your elders… or worse, find yourself piecing four random Chinese words together just to make up an “idiom”?
A well-chosen greeting can represent the steep respect we hold for our elders, the strong bonds between friends and families, and the love we have for our children.
We have compiled 8 most popular Chinese New Year greetings – use this as your survival guide to having good manners during this festive season!
For Parents To Greet Their Children
快高长大 kuai gao zhang da
A classic, most parents use this greeting to convey their hopes for their children to be healthy and well as they grow.
学业进步 xue ye jin bu
This is most commonly used to wish children good progress in their studies for the year!
岁岁平安 sui sui ping an
A less common greeting, but one that is highly recommended by our Chinese language experts. This simple phrase is used to convey a parent’s hope for a peaceful year ahead for their children. Interestingly, this greeting is also commonly used when things are broken (especially by active children!) during the festive period, as 岁 is a homophone with 碎 (break).
For Friends To Greet Each Other
心想事成 xin xiang shi cheng
Commonly used among friends, this popular greeting is used in hopes that one’s wishes and desires for the year will come true. It’s especially suitable when greeting a friend who has recently pursued a new career path or area of interest!
阖家平安 he jia ping an
As the Chinese value family as an integral part of one’s life, this greeting wishes one’s family a blessed, safe and healthy year ahead!
For Juniors To Greet The Elders
龙马精神 long ma jing shen
This idiom is particularly appropriate for greeting elderly relatives or friends, as it quite literally translates to “having the vigour of a dragon or horse”!
福寿安康 fu shou an kang
Another popular phrase, this will convey your hopes for your elders to have longevity, peace, health, and happiness ahead.
For The Year of The Monkey"猴"运到 hou yun dao
This phrase can be loosely translated to mean “good luck is here”, as the pronunciation of 猴 in Chinese (hou) is the same as the pronunciation of 好in Cantonese (hou)!
The authors would like to thank The Learning Lab's Chinese curriculum unit for providing invaluable input to this article. Chinese Lab by The Learning Lab delivers Chinese and Higher Chinese programs to students from K1 to P6. To find out more, visit us here.