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The Spring Festival is the grandaddy of ’em all when it comes to Chinese holidays, and it goes on for fifteen whole days. Everyone is busy getting ready for the celebrations and trying to make it home. The worst thing that can happen in China is not making it back home for the New Year. To help you understand the Spring Festival and its various customs and traditions and learn useful vocabulary, here are 25 Chinese words/phrases about the holiday:
The last three items on that vocabulary list are some of the most common Chinese New Year greetings. 新年快乐 simply means “Happy New Year,” while 恭喜发财 is a bit difficult to translate directly into English. It basically means that you’re wishing someone prosperity in the New Year. It’s very common around the Spring Festival, so you can expect to hear it from others and should use it as well. The last one explains why people in China love to eat fish for the New Year. That’s because if you say 年年有鱼 (Every year there is fish), it sounds just like 年年有余 (Every year there is a surplus). By eating fish for the New Year’s dinner, you’ll guarantee that there will be a surplus of everything in the following year. To all of our readers, I hope you have a Happy (and of course, a Prosperous) New Year!
Learn some more useful Spring Festival vocabulary with this animated video.