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Happy New Year. Photo: Medium

First of all it should be clarified that in China there are two different “New Years” celebrations: the first is the so-called “Spring Festival” 春节 (Chūnjié), which usually falls between the last two weeks of January and the first two of February.

The second New Year is the one celebrated worldwide that is on January 1st, which in Chinese is called 元旦 (yuán dàn). There is, however, an interchangeable and usable term for both events: 新年 (xīn nián) literally “New Year”, according to ltlschool.

Ways to Say "Happy New Year" in Chinese

新年快乐 / 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè)

'New Year happiness!'

  • In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen kwhy-ler/
  • In Cantonese: /sen-nin feye-lor/

“Xīnnián kuàilè” (新年快乐) means ’Happy New Year’. “Xīnnián kuàilè” is a great way to say “Happy New Year” in Chinese. It is a formal greeting typically used for strangers.

新年好 / 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo)

'New Year goodness!' (like "Good day.")

  • In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen haoww/
  • In Cantonese: /sen-nin haow/

A shortened version is “Xīnnián hǎo” (新年好), which is more often used for friends and family.

过年好 / 過年好 (Guònián hǎo)

'Pass the New Year well!'

  • In Mandarin: /gwor-nyen haoww/
  • In Cantonese: /gwor-nin haow/

“Guò nián hǎo"(过年好) means "Happy Lunar New Year". It is a traditional and informal way to greet people during the Chinese New Year period.

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái)

'Happiness and prosperity!'

  • In Mandarin: /gong-sshee faa-tseye/
  • In Cantonese: Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy/

步步高升 / 步步高陞 (Bùbù gāoshēng)

'step-by-step high promotion' — A steady rise to high places! — "on the up and up"

  • In Mandarin: /boo-boo gaoww-shnng /
  • In Cantonese: /boh-boh goh-sshin /

About Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a massive, international celebration. With people scattered around the globe observing the Lunar New Year, you're sure to find fireworks, parades, and street fairs in nearly every major city.

Although the first few days are the most observed, Chinese New Year actually runs for 15 consecutive days and ends with the Lantern Festival. Preparations take place for weeks in advance to ensure that this period is filled with luck and prosperity (two things the Chinese value immensely).

This is a time for family and lots of food. Firecrackers are thrown in abundance to frighten away unlucky spirits, and red is worn, even red underwear, because of its symbolic meaning. Children receive small gifts and money in red envelopes called lai see and various figures from history are honored, Tripsavvy cites.

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