Chinese New Year Lucky Phrases 吉祥话

During the Chinese New Year season, Chinese people greet each other with lucky phrases. Our Confucius Institute for Scotland Chinese language teacher Wang Jin shares some of the phrases.  Let’s read how to spread good luck…and there’s a QR code link to lead you to more lucky phrases!

The greetings are often referred to as 吉祥话 (jíxiánghuà) in Chinese, meaning auspicious words or phrases. Some of the most common greetings include:

新年快乐  Xīnnián kuàilè  Happy new year

过年好  Guònián hǎo    Happy new year

恭喜发财  Gōngxǐ fācái   Wishing you wealth

Numerous other greetings exist, some of which may be used in specific situations. For example, as breaking objects during the New Year is considered inauspicious, one may then say 岁岁平安 (Suìsuì-píng’ān) immediately after such an act, which means “everlasting peace year after year”. Suì (岁), meaning “age” is homophonous with 碎 (suì) (meaning “shatter”), this demonstrates the Chinese love for wordplay to make auspicious phrases. Similarly, 年年有余 (Niánnián yǒuyú), meaning “wish for surpluses and bountiful harvests every year”, plays on the word yú that can also refer to 鱼 (yú meaning fish), making it a catch phrase for fish-based Chinese New Year’s dishes and it is also the reason behind hanging paintings or images of fish on walls or presenting them as gifts.

Common auspicious greetings and sayings consist of four characters, such as the following:

万事如意  Wànshì rúyì    Hope everything goes your way

岁岁平安  Suìsuì píng’ān   May you stay safe and sound all year round

鹏程万里  Péngchéng wànlǐ   Have a bright future

龙马精神  Lóngmǎ jīngshén   Be as energetic as a dragon and a horse

阖家幸福  Héjiā xìngfú    Wishing happiness to all your family

心想事成  Xīnxiǎng shìchéng    May all your wishes come true

身体健康  Shēntǐ jiànkāng   Wishing you good health

出入平安  Chūrù píng’ān     Wishing you safety wherever you go

笑口常开  Xiàokǒu chángkāi   Wear a smile often

生意兴隆  Shēngyì xìnglóng   Wishing you a booming business

Children are taught to say these greetings, especially on receiving their red envelopes (It is popular for money to be given to children and other young people in red paper envelopes (红包, hóngbāo) at Chinese New Year.)   The phrases are also used when gifts are exchanged or wishes are made at temples.

Scan the following QR or click the link below for more lucky phrases.