How to Say Happy Chinese New Year in Mandarin: 14 Lunar Greetings and Wishes to Message

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and will soon be celebrated by those who follow calendars that are based around moon cycles.

Interchangeably known as the Lunar New Year (given that it is not exclusively observed in China), the event does not always occur on the exact same day. In fact, it can fall anywhere between January 21 and February 20, with the Year of the Ox most recently beginning on February 12.

In addition to refreshing the calendar, the event marks the end of Winter. For this reason, it also goes by a third name, with some electing to call it the "Spring Festival" instead.

When East Asian countries (including Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia) ring in the Lunar New Year, they will allocate it one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. For instance, 2019 was the Year of the Pig, 2020 was the Year of the Rat, and 2021 was the Year of the Ox. The corresponding animal for when you were born is meant to have a bearing on your personality traits and characteristics.

According to the lunisolar calendar, 2022 will begin on February 1. This will be the Year of the Tiger.

How to Say "Happy New Year" in Mandarin and Cantonese

The different provinces of China do not uniformly speak the same language, with some (like Hong Kong and Macau) favoring Cantonese, while others predominantly use Mandarin. As such, there are a few different ways that you can say "Happy New Year" to somebody living in China.

If you are on relatively familiar terms with them, then you can say: "Xīn ián hǎo" in Mandarin. Phonetically pronounced "Shin-nyen haow" this literally means "New Year Goodness" and can be written in traditional Hànzì symbols as 新年好.

Alternatively, you can opt for the more formal "Xīnnián kuàilè" (phonetically pronounced Shin-nyen Kwai-le). This is quite similar to the previous greeting but means "New Year Happiness" instead. If you want to send this message over text, it can be written in Chinese characters as 新年快樂.

Meanwhile, if you are conversing with a Cantonese speaker, then you should say: "Sun Leen Fai Lok" which literally translates to "Happy New Year". This is written as 新年快樂.

However, it is more common to say "Gong hei fat choy", which broadly means "Wishing you prosperity and good health". Phonetically, this greeting is pronounced "Gong hay fat choy" and is written as 恭喜發財.

14 Happy Chinese New Year Wishes and Greetings

While those are the most common Lunar New Year greetings, there are a few alternatives.

Newsweek has listed a few different ways of saying "Happy New Year" in both Mandarin and Cantonese below.

LanguageGreetingMeaningHànzi
MandarinXīnnián kuàilèNew Year happiness新年快樂
MandarinXīnnián hǎoNew Year goodness新年好
CantoneseSun Leen Fai LokHappy new year新年快樂
CantoneseGong hei fat choyWishing you prosperity and health恭喜發財
CantoneseSum Seung Si SingMay all your wishes come true心想事成
CantoneseSun Tai Geen HongWishing you good health身體健康
CantoneseLung Ma Jing SungWishing you the energy of a dragon and horse龍馬精神
CantoneseDai Gat Dai LeiWishing you good luck and fortune大吉大利,
MandarinChūnjié KuàilèHappy spring festival节快乐
MandarinShēn TǐJiàn KāngWishing you good health健康
MandarinNiánnián YǒUyúWishing you a surplus of blessings年年有余
MandarinXīnchūn kuàilèHappy new spring新春快乐
MandarinHé jiā xìngfúWishing you family happiness阖家幸福
MandarinSuì Suì Píng ānWishing you safety岁岁平安
Chinese New Year Celebration in Edinburgh
Image shows people getting ready for the 2022 Chinese New Year Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. According to the lunisolar calendar, this will be the Year of the Tiger. Jeff J Mitchel;/Getty Images