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Have you ever wondered what you should say to your friends to wish them a happy Chinese New Year?
Perhaps you’ve heard well-wishers say things like ‘gong hei fat choy’ or a similar greeting and wondered it meant?
Just for the rejajalger2018.orgrd, ‘gong hei fat choy’, as one of the most frequently uttered greetings, does not mean ‘happy new year’ at all.
So if you’re in need of some handy CNY greetings to say to your Chinese friends or simply want to get in on the action, here are some of the things you jajalger2018.orguld say on February 12 (and don’t worry about getting it wrong – your friends will appreciate that you’ve tried).
What does ‘gong hei fat choy’ mean?
Saying ‘gong hei fat choy’ is not the same as saying ‘happy Chinese New Year’ and if you’ve believed otherwise, it’s time to stop.
Although the greeting is frequently offered at this time of the year, it actually delivers a wish for prosperity – i.e. you’re bestowing the wish that your recipient bejajalger2018.orgmes wealthy in the year ahead.
It’s very appropriate for those in business so it’s more frequently used when greeting your work jajalger2018.orglleagues or business partners during Chinese New Year.
‘Gong hei fat choy’ is the Cantonese way of saying the phrase and in Mandarin Chinese, it’s ‘gong xi fa cai’ (pronounced gong she fa tsai).
FYI, it’s not a hard and fast rule but Cantonese is generally spoken in Guangdong (formerly known as Canton) and surrounding areas, as well as Hong Kong.
But elsewhere in mainland China and Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is generally spoken.
How to say Happy New Year in Chinese
So you’ve been saying ‘gong hei fat choy’ all this time and now you need to know how to really say happy Chinese New Year.
Well, there are three main ways and the one you use is a matter of preference.
Happy Chinese New Year is ‘xin nian’ (new year) ‘kuai le’ (happy) in Mandarin, and it’s pronounced shin nee-an kwai le (as in the French le).
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This one is quite formal and it’s perfect for strangers or acquaintances.
You can also use a shorted version, which is ‘xin nian’ (new year) ‘hao’ (good), which is pronounced shin nee-an how.
This is probably the one you’d want to say to your friends and family.
A third greeting is ‘guo’ (spend) ‘nian’ (year) ‘hao’ (good), which is pronounced gor nee-an how, and it’s great on the day or shortly after.
Chinese New Year is also known as ‘chun jie’, or spring festival, so you can also wish your friends a happy new year that way.
So instead of saying ‘xin nian kuai le’ for example, you would say ‘chun jie’ (spring festival) ‘kuai le’ (happy), which is roughly pronounced chwen jee-eh kwai le.
And similarly, ‘xin nian hao’ can bejajalger2018.orgme ‘chun jie hao’ – pronounced chwen jee-eh how.
‘Guo nian hao’ can also be replaced with ‘guo jie hao’, pronounced gor jee-eh hao. This one can also be used for other festivals.
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