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Western Son-in-Law: How to Get Through Chinese New Year (Part 1)

Feb. 22, 2019

HSK 3 quiz

For many foreigners, when they marry into a Chinese family there are a lot of cultural aspects that must be learned in order to be able to fully enjoy their new family.

One of the most important holidays, Chinese New Year, is a great example of how a new Western son-in-law could have a rough time if he didn’t understand some of the taboos and traditions. Let’s take a look at what he can expect during Chinese Spring Festival!

Chinese Blessings And Well-Wishes:
On Chinese New Year, you can hear all kinds of greetings for Chinese New Year, such as “新年好 (xīnnián hăo) Happy New Year!” and “ 新年快乐 (xīnnián kuàilè) Happy New Year!”

Nursery Rhyme: 新年好 (XīnNián Hăo) Happy New Year

There are other common greetings such as “恭喜发财 (gōngxǐ fācái),” which means “Wish You Great Prosperity!” and “猪年大吉 (zhūnián dàjí),” which means “Good Luck in the Year of the Pig!” for the upcoming Year of the Pig has become very popular. And now, text messages are also a popular way for people to greet each other.

Text Messages One:
Xīn de yì nián, zhù nǐ wēixiào duō yìdiǎn, fánnǎo shǎo yìdiǎn,
In the New Year, I wish you more smiles, fewer troubles,

Huólì duō yìdiǎn, yōuchóu shǎo yìdiǎn,
More vitality, less sorrow,

Zhāoqì mǎn yìdiǎn, píqì xiǎo yìdiǎn,
More energy, less bad temper,

Shìqíng duō zuò diǎn, tōulǎn shǎo yìdiǎn.
That you do more and are less lazy.

Text messages Two:
Chūnjié dào, bàinián zǎo:
Spring Festival is coming, let’s pay an early new year call:

Yī bài xīnnián hǎo, èr bài kùnnán pǎo,
First, wish you a happy new year, second, wish your difficulties disappear,

Sān bài fánnǎo shǎo, sì bài bú biàn lǎo,
Thirdly wish you less trouble, fourthly wish you never get old,

Wǔ bài érnǚ xiào, liù bài xìngfú rào,
Fifthly wish your children obedient, sixthly wish that happiness surrounds,

Qī bài yōuchóu pāo, bā bài shōurù gāo,
Seventhly wish you less sorrow, eighthly wish you a higher income,

Jiǔ bài píng’ān dào, shí bài lè xiāoyáo!
Ninthly wish you travel safely, tenthly wish you free and unconstrained!

The Spring Festival is China’s most important holiday. Celebrating “春节 (chūnjié) Spring Festival” is also called “过年 (guònián) celebrating the New Year,” and “拜年 (bàinián) paying New Year’s visits” is one of the Chinese people’s traditions that they can’t go without.

Wishing someone “Happy New Year” is an essential way to exchange blessings and congratulations with loved ones in order to wish them luck, prosperity and long life.

Over the many years, this tradition has been around, many new well-wishes have appeared, with some of the most common beings: “恭喜发财 (gōngxǐ fācái),” “年年有余 (nián nián yǒu yú),” “岁岁平安 (suì suì píng’ān)” and so on.

Greetings for Chinese New Year

You can’t just say “Happy New Year” if you want to make a good impression, so here are some of the most widely used traditional sayings for you to memorize and use with your Chinese loved ones!

Common Traditional Sayings That You Can Apply Them in Paying New Year’s Visits

1. 恭喜发财 (Gōngxǐ fācái) Wishing You Prosperity

2. 年年有余 (Nián nián yǒu yú) Abundance Year After Year

3. 岁岁平安 (Suì suì píng’ān) Peace All Year Round

4. 步步高升 (Bùbùgāoshēng) Wishing You a Promotion

5. 大吉大利 (Dàjídàlì) Good Fortune And Good Luck

6. 心想事成 (Xīn xiǎng shì chéng) May All Your Wishes Come True

7. 吉祥如意 (Jíxiáng rúyì) Everything Goes Well, And Good Luck!

Now that we’ve learned some of the well-wishes said during Spring Festival, let’s take a look at some of the Chinese vocabulary during Spring Festival.

Key Learning Points:

1. 拜年 (Bàinián) pay a new year call

Jīntiān wǒ yào qù shūshu jiā bàinián.
I’m going to pay my uncle a new year call today.

2. 平安 (Píng’ān) safe

Zhù nǐ nián nián yǒu yú, suì suì píng’ān.
May you always get more than you wish for, wealth, peace and safety all year round.

3. 吉利 (Jílì) lucky; auspicious;

Zài Zhōngguó, sì shì yígè bù jílì de shùzì.
In China, 4 is an unlucky number.

HSK 3 quiz
1. Which is not proper as a greeting for Chinese New Year?

A. 生日快乐 (Shēngrì kuàilè)

B. 大吉大利 (Dàjídàlì)

C. 岁岁平安 (Suì suì píng’ān)

See Answer Analysis

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