2023 Chinese New Year Greetings that Chinese People Actually Say

November 22, 2022

As we're preparing to welcome the Chinese New Year of 2023, everyone is getting excited to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year in China.

Since Chinese New Year greetings are a significant part of celebrating the Spring Festival, today we'll go over some 2023 Chinese New Year greetings, as well as common responses for when someone wishes you a Happy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit.

Red lantern

But before, let’s explore the origins of the Chinese New Year:

WHAT IS CHINESE NEW YEAR?

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (春节 chūn jié) is undoubtedly China’s most important holiday.

The Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which is different from the Gregorian calendar. According to the lunar calendar, the New Year begins on the second New Moon after the winter solstice, hence the actual date of the Chinese New Year changes every year depending on the timing of the lunar cycle.

WHEN IS THE CHINESE NEW YEAR OF 2023?

The Chinese New Year of 2023 is January 22, but the official public holiday starts on January 21 (Chinese New Year’s Eve, or 除夕 chúxì ) and ends on January 27.

This weeklong holiday is referred to as Golden Week in China, as is the seven to eight days off that people enjoy for the National Day holiday.

In a more traditional sense, Spring Festival celebrations can last several weeks, starting with the Laba festival 腊八 làbā jié on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, which falls on December 30 in 2023, and ending the Lantern Festival 元宵节 yuán xiāo jié, celebrated on February 5 this year.

The Laba festival is a day of ancestral 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, is on January 14 this year.

2023: THE YEAR OF THE RABBIT

rabbit

Chinese New Year’s Day also marks the beginning of a new lunar year, represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. As you may know, the Chinese zodiac features a 12-year cycle with each year represented by a different animal.

(You can read up on the origins of the zodiac here.)

According to the Chinese Zodiac, Chinese New Year 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. People born in rabbit years (2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927) are said to be kind, smart, and friendly.

If your Chinese zodiac sign is the Rabbit, you may expect the Chinese New Year of 2023 to be a good year for you. On the contrary, a year with the same zodiac as your birth year (in Chinese called 本命年 běnmìngnián) is believed to bring bad luck.

You can wear red clothing or jade jewelry with your zodiac sign to protect yourself from evil spirits and dispel bad fortune.

COMMON CHINESE NEW YEAR TRADITIONS

Many of the Chinese New Year customs revolve around the color red: streets and lanes are decorated with red lanterns, doors and houses are embellished with red Chinese knots (中国结 zhōngguójié) and Spring Festival couplets (春联 chūnlián), red envelopes (红包 hóngbāo) with money are given to children, and red firecrackers are set off on New Year’s Eve, for fortune and good luck.

Chunlian on a door in Yunnan China

As the Spring Festival is China’s most important holiday, families gather together to clean and decorate their homes, enjoy the New Year’s eve feast, and send each other red packets. Lots of people travel back to their hometowns, prompting the world’s largest annual human migration (called 春运 chūnyùn, literally meaning "spring movement").

As for the Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner (年夜饭 nián yèfàn), some popular dishes include fish, spring rolls, and dumplings, as they all symbolize wealth.

Homemade Chinese new year dumplings

COMMON CHINESE NEW YEAR GREETINGS IN CHINESE CHARACTERS

Generally, popular Chinese New Year greetings are wishes for happiness, prosperity, health and peace.

The most common way to wish a Happy Chinese New Year is 新年好 Xīnnián hǎo, literally meaning “Good New Year“ but its slightly more formal version 新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè (literally: "Happy New Year") is also popular.

To respond, you can simply return the same 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

If you want to send out greetings specifically for a Happy Rabbit Year, here are some four-character greetings you can use, and you are free to add the phrase “wishing you“ (祝你 zhù nǐ) before the greeting:

兔年大吉
Tù nián dà jí
Happy Year of the Rabbit

兔年行大运
Tù nián xíng dà yùn
Good luck in the Year of the Rabbit

兔年吉祥
Tù nián jíxiáng
Good luck in the Year of the Rabbit

前兔无量 / 前兔似锦
Qián tù wúliàng / Qián tù sì jǐn
A promising/bright rabbit ahead

  • Wordplay on 前途无量 Qiántú wúliàng (a promising future) and 前途似锦 Qiántú sì jǐn (a bright future )

大展宏兔
Dà zhǎn hóngtù
To realize one's rabbit

  • Wordplay on 大展宏图 Dà zhǎn hóngtú, meaning "to realize one's ambition"

兔飞猛进
Tùfēi měngjìn
A rabbit flies by leaps and bounds

  • Wordplay on 突飞猛进 Tūfēiměngjìn, meaning "to advance by leaps and bounds"

Finally, you can combine multiple wishes in one greeting to give your Chinese New Year greetings more weight and add extra luck. Believe us, if you share these Chinese New Year greetings for 2023 with your Chinese friends and family, you will be rewarded with happy, smiling faces!

祝你 2023 新年快乐, 大吉大利!
Zhù nǐ 2023 xīnnián kuàilè, dàjí dàlì!
Wishing you a happy New Year 2023, good luck and big profits!

祝您 2023 兔年大吉 兔年行大运 新年快乐!
Zhù nín 2023 tù nián dàjí tù nián xíng dà yùn xīnnián kuàilè!
Wishing you all the best in the Year of the Rabbit 2023!