Wishes for the Chinese New Year (The Spring Festival):


Chinese New Year wishes to friends and family:

  • 恭喜發財 (Simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财) - Congratulations and prosperity!

  • 新年快樂 (Simplified Chinese: 新年快乐) - Happy New Year!

  • 年年有餘 (Simplified Chinese: 年年有馀) - Prosperity every year!

  • 歡歡喜喜迎新年(Simplified Chinese: 欢欢喜喜迎新年) - Welcome the New Year happily!

  • 提前拜年了 (Simplified Chinese: 提前拜年了) - Happy New Year in advance! (wishing Happy New Year in advance)

Chinese New Year wishes for corporate and business purpose

  • 恭喜發財! (Simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财!) - Congratulations and Prosperity!

  • 財源滾滾 (Simplified Chinese: 财源滚滚) - May your profits pouring in from all sides!

Chinese New Year wishes to students

  • 學有所成 (Simplified Chinese: 学有所成!) - May you harvest your studies!

  • 學習進步! (Simplified Chinese: 学习进步!) - May you make progress in study!

Chinese New Year (source: www.wikipedia.org)

Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is often inaccurately called "Lunar New Year", because—as part of the lunisolar Chinese calendar—the date is partially determined based on lunar phase. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year's Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as chú xī (除夕). It literally means "Year-pass Eve".


Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity". On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is a great way to reconcile; forgetting all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.


Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, outside China its years are often numbered from the reign of the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year 2011 "Chinese Year" 4709, 4708, or 4648.



Practices

Traditionally, Red envelopes or red packets (Cantonese: lai sze or lai see) (利是, 利市 or 利事); (Mandarin: 'hóng bāo' (红包); Hokkien: 'ang pow' (POJ: âng-pau); Hakka: 'fung bao'; are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is also common for adults or young couples to give red packets to children. Red packets are also known as 壓歲錢/压岁钱 (Ya Sui Qian, which was evolved from 壓祟錢/压祟钱, literally, the money used to suppress or put down the evil spirit ) during this period.


Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金 : Bai Jin). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US. The number six (六, liù) is also very lucky as it sounds like 'smooth' (流, liú), in the sense of having a smooth year. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.


Odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit, rather than the last. Thirty and fifty, for example, are odd numbers, and are thus appropriate as funeral cash gifts. However, it is common and quite acceptable to have cash gifts in a red packet using a single bank note – with ten or fifty yuan bills used frequently.


The act of requesting for red packets is normally called (Mandarin): 讨紅包, 要利是. (Cantonese):逗利是. A married person would not turn down such a request as it would mean that he or she would be "out of luck" in the new year. While this practice is common in South China, in the North people give cash without any cover to their sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, and children of their relatives and friends. Unlike the South, it is common for people to give Ұ50, Ұ100 or even more, odd or even numbers are not taken into consideration anymore.



Symbolism

During these 15 days of the Chinese New Year one will see superstitious or traditional cultural beliefs with meanings which can be puzzling in the eyes of those who do not celebrate this occasion. There is a customary reason that explains why everything, not just limited to decorations, are centered on the colour red. At times, gold is the accompanying colour for reasons that are already obvious. One best and common example is the red diamond-shaped posters with the character 福 (pinyin: fú, Cantonese and Hakka: Fook), or "auspiciousness" which are displayed around the house and on doors. This sign is usually seen hanging upside down, since the Chinese word 倒 (pinyin: dào), or "upside down", sounds the same as 到 (pinyin: dào), or "arrive". Therefore, it symbolizes the arrival of luck, happiness, and prosperity.


Red is the predominant colour used in New Year celebrations. Red is the emblem of joy, and this colour also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. On the Chinese opera stage, a painted red face usually denotes a sacred or loyal personage and sometimes a great emperor. Candies, cakes, decorations and many things associated with the New Year and its ceremonies are coloured red. The sound of the Chinese word for “red” ( 紅) is “hong” in Mandarin (Hakka: Fung; Cantonese: Hoong) which also means “prosperous.” Therefore, red is an auspicious colour and has an auspicious sound.



Greetings

The Chinese New Year is often accompanied by loud, enthusiastic greetings, often referred to as 吉祥話 (jí xiáng hùa) , or loosely translated as auspicious words or phrases. Some of the most common examples may include: simplified Chinese: 新年快乐; traditional Chinese: 新年快樂; Mandarin Pinyin: xīn nián kuài lè; Jyutping: san1 nin4 faai3 lok6; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Sin-nî khòai-lo̍k; Hakka: Sin Ngen Kai Lok; Taishanese: Slin Nen Fai Lok. A more contemporary greeting reflective of Western influences, it literally translates from the greeting "Happy new year" more common in the west. But in northern parts of China, traditionally people say simplified Chinese: 过年好; traditional Chinese: 過年好; pinyin: guò nián hǎo instead of simplified Chinese: 新年快乐; traditional Chinese: 新年快樂, to differentiate it from the international new year. And 過年好 can be used from the first day to the fifth day of Chinese new year. However, 過年好 is considered too short and therefore too ordinary a greeting. simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财; traditional Chinese: 恭喜發財; pinyin: gōng xǐ fā cái; Hokkien: Keong hee huat chye (POJ: Kiong-hí hoat-châi); Cantonese: Gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4; Hakka: Kiung Hi Fat Chhoi, which loosely translates to "Congratulations and be prosperous". Often mistakenly assumed to be synonymous with "Happy New Year", its usage dates back several centuries. While the first two words of this phrase had a much longer historical significance (legend has it that the congratulatory messages were traded for surviving the ravaging beast of Nian, although in practical terms it may also involve surviving the harsh winter conditions), the last two words were added later as ideas of capitalism and consumerism became more significant in Chinese societies around the world. The saying is now commonly heard in English speaking communities for greetings during Chinese New Year in parts of the world where there is a sizable Chinese-speaking community, including overseas Chinese communities that have been resident for several generations, relatively recent immigrants from Greater China, and those who are transit migrants (particularly students).


Numerous other greetings exist, some of which may be exclaimed out loud to no one in particular in specific situations. For example, as breaking objects during the new year is considered inauspicious, one may then say 歲歲平安 (suì suì píng ān) immediately, which means everlasting peace year after year. 歲 (Suì, meaning "age") is homophonous with 碎 (meaning "shatter"), in demonstration of the Chinese love for wordplay in auspicious phrases. Similarly, 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú), a wish for surpluses and bountiful harvests every year, plays on the word yú to also refer to 魚 (meaning fish), making it a catch phrase for fish-based Chinese new year dishes and for paintings or graphics of fish that are hung on walls or presented as gifts.


These greetings or phrases may also be used just before children receive their red packets, when gifts are exchanged, when visiting temples, or even when tossing the shredded ingredients of yusheng particularly popular in Malaysia and Singapore.


Children and teenagers sometimes jokingly use the phrase (Traditional Chinese:恭喜發財,紅包拿來, Simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财,红包拿来) (Mandarin PinYin: gōng xǐ fā cái, hóng bāo ná lái) (Cantonese: 恭喜發財,利是逗來) roughly translated as "Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope!". In the Hakka dialect the saying is more commonly said as 'Gung hee fatt choi, fung bao diu loi' which would be written as 恭喜發財,紅包逗來 - a mixture of the Cantonese and Mandarin variants of the saying.


Back in the 1970s, children in Hong Kong used the saying: 恭喜發財,利是逗來,伍毫嫌少,壹蚊唔愛 (Cantonese), roughly translated as, "Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope, fifty cents is too little, don't want a dollar either." It basically meant that they disliked small change – coins which were called "hard substance" (Cantonese: 硬嘢). Instead, they wanted "soft substance" (Cantonese: 軟嘢), which was either a ten dollar or a twenty dollar bill.