Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Happy Birthday” & “Good Luck”

New Words   
Wish you – 祝你 – jiok li 
Birthday – 生日 – see lit 
Happy Birthday – 生日快乐 – see lit kuai lok 
Hope – 希望 – hee bang 
Good luck – 好运气 / 兴兴 – ho oon khi / heng heng

Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Happy Birthday” & “Good Luck”

新年快乐! This is Eugene from Hope all of you are enjoying the Chinese New Year celebrations so far! Did you know that the 7th day of Chinese New Year is everyone’s birthday? Let’s learn how to wish your friends and family “Happy Birthday” in today’s Hokkien – How Do You Say podcast! 

“生” refers to “birth” and “日” refers to day. When these two words are combined together, it literally means “birthday.” Before we go on, I have a Chinese myth to share with you! On the 7th day of Chinese New Year, many believe that the Goddess of Creation created humans. So to celebrate every man’s birthday together, rather than birthday cakes, Singaporean Chinese would typically toss and eat yusheng for good fortune. Arranged on a large circular plate, this dish – consisting of raw fish, shredded carrot, green radish, white radish, deep-fried flour crisps and sweet condiments – is considered to be a symbol of abundance. In fact, the higher you toss the yusheng, the better prospects you’ll have in the year ahead!  

Anyway, Hokkiens in Singapore would wish someone a happy birthday by saying “祝你生日快乐”. In addition, since good luck is always welcome, especially during Chinese New Year, you can also add “希望你好运气”. This is a more formal way of expressing good luck for the recipient. If you want a more local and casual version, then say this, “希望你兴兴”. Yes, if you notice, we repeat “兴” to emphasize on getting good luck!  

I’ll repeat all 3 phrases for you. 




Hope you find the above phrases useful and have found more ways to express well-wishes and birthday greetings. Thank you for listening in to How Do You Say on I am Eugene and 祝你新年兴兴,希望你万事如意!

Our Philosophy for Learning Hokkien in Singapore

The pronunciation of Hokkien words varies from one region to another. For example, Penang Hokkien sounds different from Taiwanese Hokkien. At, we want to make learning Hokkien fun, easy and practical for daily conversations in Singapore. As such, we think it is important to listen to how Singaporeans speak Hokkien. To do that, we have an ongoing process of collecting audio recordings from at least 100 Hokkien-speaking seniors in Singapore and thereafter based our audio pronunciation on the most commonly-heard version. 

In similar nature, rather than trying to figure out which Hokkien romanization system to use (e.g. Pe̍h-ōe-jī or Taiwan Romanization System), we encourage you to form your own phonics, so that you make an association with these Hokkien words in the quickest way possible. To illustrate, the formal romanization of the English word, “eat”, is “chia̍h” in Hokkien. However, in our “Have You Eaten” podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “jiak”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “chiah”, “jia”, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.