Chinese new year is coming up. Time for some last minute mandarin lessons!

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Luna new year is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. The date is different each year on the Gregorian (internationally-used) calendar. The first day of the 2017 Chinese New Year is on Saturday, January 28.

On the first day of Lunar Year, Chinese people traditionally go from house to house to visit their friends, relatives, and neighbors. This action is called Bainian (bài nián拜年) in Chinese, which means “to pay a New Year’s call” . People start the first day of a year by having breakfast earlier than usual, dressing children in new clothes, and heading out to pay a lot of visits. If you are in China this is a perfect opportunity to express your best wishes. Come to learn some expressions at the last moment!

Basic Expressions

过年好! (guò nián hǎo)
新年快乐! (xīn nián kuài lè)
给您拜年了! (gěi nín bài nián le)

The sentences above are similar to “Happy New Year” in English. The first two is used by almost everyone, while the last one is used when a young person pays a visit to an elderly or respected person. With the rapid spread of Internet, the methods of Bainian have developed into a great variety of forms. There’s no need for you to express greetings from door to door if you are busy. Alternatively, you can send e-mails, online videos, e-cards, or text messages to give a new year’s wish.

Common Greetings

心想事成 (xīn xiǎng shì chéng):
Meaning: All your wishes come true.

笑口常开 (xiào kǒu cháng kāi)
Meaning: Be happy and wear smiles every day.

恭喜发财,红包拿来 (Gōng xǐ fā cái, hóng bāo ná lái)
Meaning: Wish you prosperous in the new year. Please give me a red envelope!
Note: On Chinese New Year, one of the most loved pastimes is exchanging “红包” (hóng bāo, red envelopes), also called “压岁钱” (yā suì qián, gift money), especially for kids. The gift is what adults give the youth during spring festival to bring blessings and good luck to them.

Greetings for Health

身体健康 (shēn tǐ jiàn kāng)
Meaning: I wish you the best of your health.

龙马精神 (lóng mǎ jīng shén)
Meaning: Wish you be energetic.

Greetings for the family

阖家欢乐 (hé jiā huān lè)
Meaning: Have a happy family.

家和万事兴 (jiā hé wàn shì xīng)
Meaning: Harmonious family brings good wealth.

As you can see there are a lot of ways to express your new years wishes to one another. You can wish the family best, someone’s health, someones business and there is even a greeting for single females:

早日找到如意郎君 (zǎo rì zhǎo dào rú yì láng jūn)
Meaning: Find your Mr. Right as soon as possible.


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