Dec 11, 2023

Spread the Joy with These 5 Chinese Holiday Greetings!

December is here, and with it comes the joy of holiday greeting cards, both digital and tangible.

These little tokens not only usher in the festive spirit but also bring smiles to our faces, reminding us that we are in the thoughts of our loved ones.

If you’re planning to reconnect with your Chinese friends during this season, why not add a personal touch with authentic Chinese holiday greetings?

In this post, we will walk you through five popular holiday greetings you can use in your messages or festive chats.

Christmas and New Year card

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Happy holidays 節日愉快/节日愉快

Kick things off with a universally heartfelt greeting – “Happy holidays.”

This warm wish translates into Chinese as 節日愉快 in traditional Chinese characters and 节日愉快 in simplified characters, both pronounced: “jié rì yú kuài.”

Dive a little deeper into the phrase: 節日/节日 (jiér ì) refers to “festival” or “holiday”; 愉快 (yú kuài) embodies joy, translating to “cheerful” or “delighted.” When paired together, they convey the spirit of “happy holidays.”

For a slightly informal touch, you might opt for 節日快樂/节日快乐 (jié rì kuài lè). Here, 快樂/快乐 (kuàilè) stands in for “happy.”

Merry Christmas 聖誕快樂/圣诞快乐

Next on our list is a greeting revered in many corners of the world, especially in countries with a significant Christian population — “Merry Christmas.”

In Chinese, this joyful wish is expressed as 聖誕快樂/圣诞快乐, pronounced: “shèng dàn kuài .”

Let’s unpack the phrase: 聖誕/圣诞 (shèng dàn) represents “Christmas,” coupled with the familiar 快樂/快乐 (kuài lè), which means “happy.”

In Chinese, quite literally, we are wishing someone a “Christmas happy,” an endearing turn of phrase, isn’t it?

For a slight variation, you can use its synonym 耶誕快樂/耶诞快乐 (yē dàn kuài lè) to sprinkle a different flavour into a Christmas greeting.

Happy New Year 新年快樂/新年快乐

As we welcome a fresh start, the phrase “Happy New Year” reverberates globally, echoed by people from all walks of life.

In Chinese, it’s 新年快樂 in traditional characters or 新年快乐 in simplified Chinese, both articulated as “xīn nián kuài lè.”

Delving into the phrase, it follows the sweet simplicity of the Chinese linguistic pattern we’ve seen before — it literally means “New Year happy.”

Here, 新 (xīn) stands for “new,” 年 (nián) represents “year,” teamed up with our now familiar friend 快樂/快乐 (kuài lè) meaning “happy,” crafting the perfect greeting to usher in the new year with warmth and joy.

Happy Birthday 生日快樂/生日快乐

birthday cake

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Now, let’s turn our attention to those special personal milestones we celebrate all year round – birthdays!

Wondering how to share warm “happy birthday” wishes in Chinese?

The same pattern we have been exploring comes into play here as well. Start with the phrase 生日 (shēng rì), which quite literally means “birth day,” followed by our now familiar expression of happiness, 快樂/快乐 (kuài lè; happy).

So, string them together, and you get 生日快樂/生日快乐 (shēng rì kuài lè), the perfect phrase to shower your loved ones, friends, or colleagues with joy and best wishes on their special day.

Wish you 祝你

As you build on your Chinese vocabulary, you can truly shine by adding the phrase 祝你 (zhù nǐ) — translating to “wish you” — at the beginning of all those heartfelt holiday greetings we’ve ventured through.

It begins with 祝 (zhù), which means “to wish,” paired with 你 (nǐ), representing “you,” maintaining a direct and warm translation in this affectionate phrase.

Here’s a golden tip: to add a formal note to your greeting, especially when addressing individuals such as your boss or business clients, swap 你 (nǐ; you) with the more formal (nín; the honorific of 你).

This variant not only signifies respect but also adds a heartfelt touch, as it incorporates the character 心 (xīn) meaning “heart,” at the bottom of 您, denoting a message sent from the heart.

Now, let’s show you examples illustrating when to use the casual 祝你 versus the formal 祝您:

For friends, family, or neighbors, wishing a Merry Christmas would look like this:
zhù nǐ shèngdàn kuàilè
Literally: wish + you (informal) + Christmas + happy

Whereas, reaching out to a teacher, manager, or business client, opt for a formal greeting:
zhù nín shèngdàn kuàilè
Literally: wish + you (formal) + Christmas + happy

Now that you’re armed with these 5 Chinese holiday greetings, it’s time to spread joy and impress your friends with your new linguistic skills.

Whether it’s a festive season or a personal celebration, don’t hesitate to add a special touch to your greetings.

So, go ahead and show off your Chinese skills in your next holiday message!

By Chineasy | A Super Chineasian

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