Mandarin Monday: Learn Chinese New Year Phrases and Vocabulary

Start practicing and get into the holiday spirit

by SHFamily | Sun, January 22, 2017

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It's already a new year for the Western world, but for those following the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Rooster begins on Saturday, January 28th. The public holiday runs from January 27th-February 2nd, which means most people in Mainland China will be leaving the cities to visit family. However, there will still be plenty of people sticking around Shanghai, and you'll want to wish them a Happy New Year. Here are some vocabulary words and phrases (provided by Mandarin King) to start practicing.



Firecrackers: bào zhú (爆竹​)

Money: qián (钱)

Red envelope: hóng bāo​ (红包)   

Travel: lǚ xíng (旅行)

Family: jiā rén​ (家人)

Year of the Rooster: jī nián (鸡年) 



Wàn shì dà jí (万事大吉)

Literal translation: "10,000 things great lucky." Wàn means “ten thousand” and later on it refers to “every and all”; shì means “things”; da means “big”; jí means “auspicious” and it sounds similar to “rooster” in Chinese.

Meaning: It is a popular blessing phrase that Chinese people say during Chinese New Year. 


Xīn nián kuài lè (新年快乐)

Literal translation: Xīn means "new"; nián is the word for "year" and kuài lè means "happy" or "joyous." 

Meaning: Happy New Year!


Have fun practicing these phrases, and remember that even if you mess up the pronunciation, people appreciate the effort! Xīn nián kuài lè!