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Five easy greetings for Chinese New Year

While Chinese New Year is celebrated widely around the world, the first way to participate is by learning these greetings for the Chinese New Year.

Greetings used frequently to celebrate the Chinese New Year are often based on myths and traditional customs. Popular themes among these phrases include good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. Here are five greetings that can provide some basic knowledge about Chinese New Year that are worth learning.

1.过年好

guò nián hǎo

Happy New Year

According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the “Nian”, which would come about every New Year’s Eve to eat villagers. One year, an old man was brave enough to fight the monster alone, using fireworks and red lanterns, while other people hid safely in their houses. The villagers celebrated their survival, creating the phrase “guo nian hao” (the meaning of “guo” is similar to “survive”, the meaning of “nian” is similar to “year”, and the meaning of “hao” is similar to “happy”).

2.万事如意

wàn shì rú yì

May all your wish be fulfilled

The greeting is originally a traditional auspicious pattern commonly used in clothing, construction and furniture. The pattern looks like 卍 and all lines are extended outward from its center towards four ends vertically and horizontally. The symbol stands for longevity. Hence, the phrase can be used to represent a wish for endless hope.

3.恭喜发财

gōng xǐ fā cái

May you have a prosperous New Year.

The saying is now most commonly heard in English speaking territories for greetings during Chinese New Year in parts of the world where there is a sizable Chinese-speaking community, including overseas families that have been resident for several generations. As most of the migrants settle for financial reasons, wealth and good fortune are wished to celebrate the same.

4.年年有余,岁岁平安

nián nián yǒu yú suì suì píng ān

May you always have more than you wish for, may you stay safe all year around.

Various dishes are prepared to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune, which are usually served on the eve of Chinese New Year. For example, the pronunciation of the word “fish” is similar to the word “yú”, which also means “surplus”. As a result, the first phrase is a wish for bountiful harvests every year.

As breaking objects during the new year is considered inauspicious, one may say the second phrase immediately when something is broken. The pronunciation “Suì”, is homophonous with the word “age”, which implies everlasting peace.

5.猪年大吉大利

zhū nián dà jí dà lì

Wish you a prosperous and auspicious year of the pig

The year 2019 is the year of the Pig. In Chinese culture, every year has a zodiac animal and the Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. As a symbol, its positive traits are bestowed on people born that year. It would bless their career, health and relationships throughout the year. So, make sure you find out what zodiac animal you are and what traits you possess. Recent years of the Pig are: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019.