Spring Festival is a special time of year. China’s most significant holiday sees much of the country heading back to home towns, stuffing themselves silly and lighting up the night (and day) with enough fireworks to put objects into space. To make sure you’re prepared, we’ve put together the following vocabulary list of common Chinese words and phrases that may be useful during the holiday.

Chinese New Year

General

English Pinyin Chinese Listen
Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) chūn jié 春节
Little New Year xiǎo nián 小年
Chinese New Year’s Eve chú xī 除夕
New Year’s Day dà nián chū yī 大年初一
Day After New Year’s chū èr 初二
Lantern Festival yuán xiāo jié 元宵节
Spring Festival Travel Season chūn yùn 春运

Greetings & Toasts

English Pinyin Chinese Listen
Happy Holidays guò nián hǎo! 过年好
Happy Spring Festival chūn jié kuài lè 春节快乐
Happy New Year xīn nián kuài lè 新年快乐
Wishing (You) Good Fortune gōng xǐ fā cái 恭喜发财
Wishing (You) Good Fortune gōng xǐ fā cái 恭喜发财
May all your wishes come true xīn xiǎng shì chéng 心想事成
Wishing (You) Good Health shēn tǐ jiàn kāng 身体健康
Luck in the Year of the [zodiac animal] [zodiac animal] nián dàjí [zodiac animal]年大吉

Zodiac Animals

English Pinyin Chinese Listen
Rat shǔ
Ox niú
Tiger
Rabbit
Dragon lóng
Snake shé
Horse
Sheep yáng
Monkey hóu
Rooster
Dog gǒu
Pig zhū

Activies & Objects

English Pinyin Chinese Listen
red envelope hóng bāo 红包
gifts lǐ wù 礼物
fireworks yān huā 烟花
firecrackers biān pào 鞭炮
lantern dēng lóng 灯笼
mahjong májiàng 麻将
Spring Festival Gala chūn jié wǎn huì 春节晚会
comedic skits xiǎo pǐn 小品
cross-talk xiàng sheng 相声
acrobatics zá jì 杂技
dancing tiào wǔ 跳舞
singing chàng gē 唱歌

Food

English Pinyin Chinese Listen
steamed bread mán tou 馒头
steamed cakes dòu bāo 豆包
dumplings jiǎo zi 饺子
sweet glutinous balls (Larger, Northern) yuán xiāo 元宵
sweet glutinous balls (Smaller, Southern) tāng yuán 汤圆
Also, be sure to check out our guide: Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) Explained
Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲