Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say – Chinese New Year Greetings and Wishes

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New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
Body身体San1 tai2San tai
Healthy健康Gin6 hong1Gin hong
Congratulations恭喜Gung1 hei2Gung hei
To prosper发财Faat3 coi4Faat coi
Receive?Dau6Dau

Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say – Chinese New Year Greetings and Wishes

Welcome back to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and hope you are as excited as me about the Chinese New Year! As we welcome the Year of the Rat, I would like to share with you some Chinese New Year greetings in Cantonese that would come in handy for your festive celebrations.

新年快乐, 万事如意. This is a greeting that I covered in our How Do You Say – Happy New Year Podcast last year. For this year, we will talk about some well wishes for health and wealth.

The most common Chinese New Year well-wishes for health would be 身体健康. 身体 refers to our body while 健康 means “healthy”. Combining it together would simply mean a wish for a healthy body. This is an endearing Chinese New Year greeting, especially for seniors in the family.

Having addressed health, let’s talk about wealth. One of the favourite Chinese New Year greetings that Cantonese speakers use for wealth would be 恭喜发财. Let me break this down for you.

恭喜 means “congratulations” and you can use it in any occasions, including wedding, getting a promotion, etc. 发财 means “to prosper”. As such, during Chinese New Year, 恭喜发财 would be a great congratulatory phrase to wish someone great wealth and prosperity.

Last but not least, if you are still eligible for red packets and would like to be cheeky, you can always say 恭喜发财, 红包?来. The additional phrase requests for a red packet directly, so I would recommend for you to only say it to people whom you are really close with. It’s a tad direct but hey, your well wishes are still valid. That said, I am no longer eligible to use this phrase! In addition, do note that Cantonese speakers in Singapore tend to use 红包to represent a red packet while those in Hong Kong would use 利是.

Alright! We hope this post armed you with some cool Cantonese greetings for Chinese New Year. This is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg, and I would like to wish you 新年快乐, 万事如意, 恭喜发财, 身体健康. Cheers to a healthy and wealthy new year ahead.


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Our Philosophy for Learning Cantonese in Singapore

At LearnDialect.sg, we want to make learning Cantonese fun, easy and practical for daily conversations in Singapore. As such, rather than figuring out which of the 10 or more Cantonese romanization system to use (e.g. Jyutping, Yale or Cantonese Pinyin etc.), we encourage you to form your own phonics, so that you make an association with these Cantonese words in the quickest way possible. To illustrate, the romanization of the English word, “eat”, is “Sik” using Jyutping and “Sihk” using Yale. However, in our “Have You Eaten?” podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “sek”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “sake”, “xig”, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.