As Chinese New Year comes around each year, the annual last-minute rush to brush up on our sorely lacking Mandarin vocabulary also surfaces. For your convenience, we list 8 essential idioms for you to memorise, so you don’t have to break a sweat in order to impress your loved ones or bring a smile to your elders’ faces this year.
恭贺新禧 (gōng hè xīn xǐ)
Elevate your CNY greetings with this idiom, which also means to welcome a good year ahead. Use this to score points over the usual “Happy New Year” greetings.
虎虎生威 (hú hǔ shēng wēi)
Literally, to witness the robust energy and vitality usually associated with tigers. This is an especially attractive idiom to have on hand this Tiger Year.
金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng)
To have an abundance of wealth and prosperity. Use this to stack on top of the usual Huat greetings.
升官发财 (shēng guān fā cái)
A favourite of many to receive, use this idiom to wish someone progress in their careers.
四季平安 (sì jì píng ān)
Use this delicate phrase to wish someone a year of peace, health, and all-around wellness.
五福臨門 (wǔ fú lín mén)
One that always sounds cultured and auspicious, use this to wish someone a year of bountiful blessings, including longevity, wealth, and health.
招財進寶 (zhāo cái jìn bǎo)
Literally to attract greater wealth, this is the quintessential CNY greeting.
祝贺佳节 (zhù hè jiā jié)
Another idiom to memorise for extra points, it literally means to celebrate the arrival of a good year. Use it if someone else had decided to use 恭贺新禧 before you.