Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say – Chinese New Year Greetings and Wishes
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Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say – Chinese New Year Greetings & Wishes
Welcome back to our Hokkien – 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 Hokkien 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. Hokkiens’ favourite Chinese New Year greeting 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. In fact, Hokkiens would typically say 恭喜 twice to extend their heartfelt congratulations. For example, when attending a wedding, one would say “哇, 你交寅了, 恭喜恭喜!” This means, “You are getting married, congrats congrats!”
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, 红包夯来. 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 Chinese New Year greetings are still valid. Alas, I am no longer eligible to use that phrase!
Now, here’s a fun fact for you! Did you know 红包夯来 is a very colloquial expression in Singapore? The word – 夯 – refers to lifting something heavy. So to use it for a tiny red packet, well… it isn’t technically correct. The right way to say it would be 恭喜发财, 红包提来.
Alright! We hope this post armed you with some cool Hokkien 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 Chinese New Year ahead. Huat ah!
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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 LearnDialect.sg, 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.