Spring Festival Vocabulary | Chinese Language Blog

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Chinese Vocabulary for Spring Festival Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 in Culture, festivals

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:

Chinese Vocabulary for Spring Festival

Every year there is fish!

春节
春运
农历新年
除夕
拜年
过年
年夜饭
春晚
生肖
狗年
烟花
鞭炮
放鞭炮
红包
压岁钱
春联
灯笼
元宵节
饺子
年糕
舞龙
舞狮
新年快乐
恭喜发财
年年有余

chūn jié
chūn yùn
nóng lì xīn nián
chú xì
bài nián
guò nián
nián yè fàn
chūn wǎn
shēng xiào
gǒu nián
yān huā
biān pào
fàng biān pào
hóng bāo
yā suì qián
chūn lián
dēng lóng
yuán xiāo jié
jiǎo zi
nián gāo
wǔ lóng
wǔ shī
xīn nián kuài lè
gōng xǐ fā cái
nián nián yǒu yú
Spring Festival
Spring Festival rush
lunar New Year
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s visit
celebrate the New Year
New Year’s dinner
CCTV Gala
zodiac
Year of the Dog
fireworks
firecrackers
set off firecrackers
red envelope
New Year’s money
couplets
lantern
Lantern Festival
dumplings
rice cake
dragon dance
lion dance
Happy New Year
Wishing you prosperity
May every year have a surplus

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.

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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