by Rachel Au

Chinese New Year falls on February 12 in 2021. With the biggest holiday in Chinese culture just around the corner, it’s time to equip yourself with some Chinese New Year greetings to impress your friends and family! Here is our selection of the ten essential greetings you need to know. Learn to say these Chinese New Year greetings in Cantonese with the pronunciations provided!

1. 恭喜發財 Gong Hei Faat Choy

Pronunciation: gong hei faat choy

Meaning: Wishing you wealth and prosperity

More about it: One of the most commonly used Chinese New Year greetings in Chinese communities around the world, “gong hei faat choy” is usually the first thing that’s said when Chinese people greet one another during Chinese New Year. It is often coupled with another popular greeting– “sun tai gin hong” (身體健康), which means good health. Say “gong hei faat choy” when you first meet someone, with the fist and palm salute!

2. 新年快樂 Sun Nin Fai Lok

Pronunciation: sun nin fai lok

Meaning: Happy new year

More about it: “sun nin fai lok” can be said to anyone, at any time during Chinese New Year. An extremely versatile Chinese New Year greeting, it can be said just as you would say “Happy New Year” to people.

Looking for things to do in Chinese New Year in Hong Kong? Check our our list here for some ideas!

3. 學業進步 Hok Yip Jun Bou

Pronunciation: hok yip jun bou

Meaning: Improvement in studies

More about it: If you’re looking for a Chinese New Year greeting to say to students, look no further. “Hok yip jun bou” will give them all the blessings they need to do better at school, and perhaps even get straight As!

4. 快高長大 Fai Gou Jeung Dai

Pronunciation: fai gou jeung dai

Meaning: Grow taller and bigger quickly

More about it: Know a kid who just can’t wait to grow taller? Greet them with “fai gou jeung dai” and they’ll thank you for your blessings!

5. 大吉大利 Dai Gut Dai Lei

Pronunciation: dai gut dai lei

Meaning: Good luck and may things go smoothly

More about it: This greeting is often seen accompanied by images of tangerines, as the second character “gut” (吉) means tangerines, besides luck. Another versatile and popular Chinese New Year greeting, “dai gut dai lei” is one of the easiest to write among Chinese New Year greetings! Try your hand at writing Chinese New Year greetings starting with 大吉大利.

6. 年年有餘 Nin Nin Yau Yu

Pronunciation: nin nin yau yu

Meaning: Surplus year after year

More about it: “nin nin yau yu” can be said to anyone, but is most often used to greet families. This greeting explains why Chinese people love serving fish at festive dinners– the pronunciations for fish (魚) and surplus (餘) are very similar.

7. 生意興隆 Saang Yi Hing Lung

Pronunciation: saang yi hing lung

Meaning: Flourishing business

More about it: Have friends or family who are business owners? Greet them with “saang yi hing lung” this Chinese New Year for the good luck they need for their business to flourish!

8. 龍馬精神 Lung Ma Jing Sun

Pronunciation: lung ma jing sun

Meaning: As full of energy as a horse

More about it: “Lung ma jing sun” is often used to greet the elderly at Chinese New Year to bless them with energy and vigour despite their old age. Any elderly person would love to be greeted with this– it might just be your ticket to receiving lai see (利是, red envelopes containing money)!

9. 出入平安 Chut Yup Ping On

Pronunciation: chut yup ping on

Meaning: Peace and safety when travelling

More about it: If you have family or friends going on vacation soon, you can greet them with “chut yup ping on” to bless them with peace and safety on their travels.

10. 心想事成 Sum Seung Si Sing

Pronunciation: sum seung si sing

Meaning: Whatever the heart desires will happen

More about it: People with a dream or wishes they want to come true would love to be greeted with “sum seung si sing”. It could be the motivation someone in your family needs to work towards their dreams!

Try out these Chinese New Year greetings the coming Chinese New Year! Be prepared with a few of them which may bring you some luck in getting more red pockets this new year!

You may also be interested in our other Chinese New Year-related articles:

Things to Do in Hong Kong During Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner (Tuen Neen Fan)

Five Favorite Chinese New Year Pudding

Sun nin fai lok!