Most Popular Chinese New Year Greetings that Chinese People Actually Say 2022

January 11, 2022

The Chinese New Year of 2022 is fast approaching, and everyone is getting excited to kick off the celebrations of the most festive time of the year. Very soon, you will hear a lot of friendly 2022 Chinese New Year wishes and receive a lot of Chinese New Year greetings, which is also a significant part of celebrating the Spring Festival.

What do you say for Chinese New Year of 2022 and how do you respond when someone wishes you a Happy Chinese New Year? Today, we are going to brief you on the essentials.

Red lantern

But first, let’s take a look at the story behind Chinese New Year:

What is Chinese New Year?

It is no exaggeration to say that Chinese New Year is China’s most important holiday, and one of the most popular holidays of the world. Chinese New Year marks the end of winter and the time of life’s renewal - the beginning of spring. This is why it is also called Spring Festival (春节 chūn jié).

The origins of Chinese New Year go back thousands of years, to the ancient Chinese astronomers and calendar-makers who paid a great deal of attention to processes in nature and corresponding astronomial events. These ancient stargazers created the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which is different from the Gregorian calender in the West.

According to the Chinese calendar, the New Year begins on the second New Moon after the winter solstice. Therefore, depending on the timing of the lunar cycle, the actual date of Chinese New Year varies.

When is Chinese New Year this year?

This year, Chinese New Year starts on February 1st and ends with the next full moon on February 15th, which is also the Lantern Festival 元宵节 yuán xiāo jié. [link] Spring Festival celebrations can last up to two weeks, while the official public holiday lasts for seven days, from January 31st (New Year’s Eve, or 除夕chúxì) until February 6th.

Check out the dates for Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, and other Chinese public holidays here.

In a more traditional sense, the Spring Festival starts even earlier, on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, with the Laba festival 腊八 làbā jié.

The Laba festival is a day of ancestrial celebrations and prayers for good fortune and health in the New Year. In addition, the holiday of Little Year (小年 xiǎo nián) marks the beginning of preparations for the Spring Festival. The Little Year, which is also known as the Festival of the Kitchen God, falls on January 24th this year.

This year’s Spring Festival coincides with another major event - the 2022 Winter Olympics which will kick-off on February 4th in the “Bird’s Nest“ – the Beijing National Stadium.

2022: The Year of the Tiger

Tiger

The start of the New Year also marks the beginning of a new Chinese zodiac year. As you may know, the Chinese zodiac features a 12-year cycle with each year represented by a different animal. (Read up on the origins of the zodiac here.)

The Chinese zodiac for Chinese New Year 2022 is the tiger. People born in tiger years (2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, and 1938) are said to be strong, confident, competitive and brave.

However, because 2022 is their zodiac birth year (本命年 běnmìngnián), they will have to careful: you are said to have bad luck in your 本命年 běnmìngnián, so tiger-people in the tiger-year should take extra measures to protect themselves from evil spirits.

If this is your 本命年 běnmìngnián, you can protect yourself by wearing red clothing (red underwear or socks, for instance) as red is an auspicious color.

Common Chinese New Year Traditions

The color red is found everywhere this time of year!

During Spring Festival, streets and lanes are decorated with bright red lanterns and lucky images. Doors are pasted with red spring couplets and upside-down "luck" 福 characters, both popular decorations displaying Chinese New Year greetings in Chinese characters.

Blooming red flowers adorn tables, and red envelopes (红包 hóngbāo) are given to children, with money inside. Red firecrackers are set off on New Year’s Eve, for fortune and good luck.

Chunlian on a door in Yunnan China

Chinese New Year brings together family and friends. Usually, this prompts a large migration (called 春运 chūnyùn, literally meaning “spring movement“) of people travelling across China to visit their hometowns and extended family.

Family is central to Chinese New Year, and the traditional foods shared among the loved ones are equally as essential. For Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner (年夜饭 nián yèfàn), spring rolls and dumplings are served, as they all symbolize wealth. In Chinese, “fish“ 鱼 sounds like 余 which means “surplus”. Spring rolls (春卷 chūn jǔn) look like gold bars, and dumplings(饺子 jiǎozi) resemble ancient Chinese money. The more you eat, the wealthier you will be.

In addition to these traditional foods, families and friends will typically prepare all their favorite delicacies and generally enjoy a good time.

Homemade Chinese new year dumplings

Common Chinese New Year Greetings in Chinese Characters

So, what are common greetings and wishes for the Chinese New Year? Wishes for happiness, prosperity, health and peace are on the top of the list.

The most common way to wish a Happy Chinese New Year is 新年好 Xīnnián hǎo, literally meaning “Good New Year“.

A little more formal but also very common is 新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè, literally meaning “Happy New Year“.

The best and simplest way to reply is to return the greeting: 新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè.

新年好 Xīnnián hǎo Good New Year!

新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè Happy New Year!

春节快乐 Chūnjié kuàilè Happy Spring Festival!

If you want to step it up a bit, you can greet people by using the following Chinese New Year greetings:

大吉大利 dà jí dà lì Lots of luck and profits

身体健康 shēn tǐ jiàn kāng Good health

万事如意 wàn shì rú yì May all go well

年年有余 nián nián yǒu yú Surplus and abundance year after year

步步高升 bùbù gāoshēng Step-by-step to a higher promotion

Red packet

As 2022 will be the Year of the Tiger, you may want to send out greetings specifically for a Happy Tiger Year! These are mostly four-character greetings, and you are free to add the phrase “wishing you“ (祝你 zhù nǐ) before the greeting:

虎年大吉 hǔ nián dà jí Good luck in the Year of the Tiger

虎年行大运 hǔ nián xíng dà yùn Good luck in the Year of the Tiger

虎虎生威 hǔ hǔ shēng wēi Forge ahead with the vitality of the Tiger

如虎添億 rúhǔ tiān yì Strong as a Tiger

龙腾虎跃 lóng téng hǔ yuè "Like a Dragon soaring and Tiger leaping"

tiger

Finally, you can also line up multiple wishes in one greeting to give your Chinese New Year greetings more weight and to add more luck. You will soon get a feel for it (believe us, you will hear these Chinese New Year greetings A LOT in 2022) and be rewarded with happy faces!

祝你 2022 新年快乐, 大吉大利! Zhù nǐ 2022 xīnnián kuàilè, dàjí dàlì! Wishing you a happy New Year 2022, good luck and big profits!

祝您2022 虎年大吉 虎年行大运 如虎添億 新年快乐! Zhù nín 2022 hǔ nián dàjí hǔ nián xíng dà yùn rúhǔ tiān yì xīnnián kuàilè! Wishing you all the best in the Year of the Tiger 2022!

Post contributed by Jana 雅娜