Your Chinese New Year greetings cheat sheet

Commit these phrases to memory and watch the ang baos roll in

So you're visiting a friend's/colleague's/relative's house this Chinese New Year and you just can't find the right words to say. Here are eight essentials you should always have in your back pocket – nestled next to all those red packets.

新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

WHAT IT MEANS Happy new year!

WHEN TO SAY IT When you first walk through the door and everyone's too busy playing mahjong to realise how basic you're being anyway.

恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái)

WHAT IT MEANS Wishing you wealth.

WHEN TO SAY IT When you want to suck up to your boss even though you already know he's making five times your salary.


大吉大利 (dà jí dà lì)

WHAT IT MEANS Good luck and may you profit.

WHEN TO SAY IT When you go all in during poker and want to make your opponent fold.

年年有馀 (nián nián yǒu yú)

WHAT IT MEANS May you have an abundant year. 

WHEN TO SAY IT When you tuck into a glorious plate of steamed marble goby or pomfret served with salted vegetables. Who wouldn't want to have fish (鱼/yú) every year?


生意兴隆 (shēng yì xīng lóng)

WHAT IT MEANS May your business flourish.

WHEN TO SAY IT When you're talking to a tech bro whose side hustles include bitcoin mining or whatever's cool in crypto these days.

学业进步 (xué yè jìn bù)

WHAT IT MEANS May your grades improve.

WHEN TO SAY IT When the precocious 11-year-old starts schooling you on how to #staywoke.


心想事成 (xīn xiǎng shì chéng)

WHAT IT MEANS May your heart's wishes come true.

WHEN TO SAY IT When you spy a hot girl at the party looking a little forlorn because she didn't have a date on V-day.

四季平安过旺年 (sì jì píng ān guò wàng nián)

WHAT IT MEANS Wishing you a whole year of peace.

WHEN TO USE IT FOR When you really want to show off – upgrade from your typical four-character idioms to this seven-character one. Everyone will be saying 'wah your Chinese so good ah?' in no time