Advanced CNY Greetings

It’s almost time for our annual Chinese New Year bai nian visits. For some of us, this means angbaos. For others, it’s a great time to feast on yummy CNY snacks. One thing’s for sure, and that’s the fact that we’ll be uttering CNY greetings to the friends and fam we’ll be meeting. If you’re gunning to make a lasting impression, we’ve got you covered. Move aside, basic overused well wishes – here are 11 advanced CNY greetings to say this year that’ll make you seem less of a “jiak kantang”.

1. 大展鸿图 (dà zhǎn hóng tú)

Translation: May your great plans come into fruition


This phrase is handy for the younger ones to greet working adults with – a.k.a. the main source of angbaos. It expresses a wish for one’s grand plans to materialise in the future. In other words, you’re basically wishing someone success in achieving their goals. 

2. 愈来愈靓 (yù lái yù liàng)

Translation: Get prettier and prettier

Roughly translated as someone “getting prettier and prettier”,  this phrase serves as a compliment to a woman’s beauty. Perhaps you can use it to score some brownie points with your mother-in-law or wifey this CNY.

3. 天赐良缘 (tiān cì liáng yuán)

Translation: Heaven sent relationship

Image credit: Jessica Lai

If you know someone who is #foreveralone who wants to get out of the single zone, wish them well with this phrase during your CNY meet up. It means that you wish for their Mr. or Ms. Right to appear right around the corner. Psst… if you’re an extra solid friend, maybe introduce your good-looking cousin to them this year. Who knows? They could be The One™.

4. 笑口常开 (xiào kǒu cháng kāi)

Translation: To be happy and smile often

You can greet anyone with this phrase regardless of their age or gender. When you use it, you’re wishing the recipient a year full of happiness and smiles. It’s the more cheem alternative to your usual “新年快乐” (xīn nián kuài lè) greeting. 

5. 吉星高照 (jí xīng gāo zhào)

Translation: May your lucky star shine bright

Referencing one’s lucky star isn’t just something that’s done in English; it’s used in Chinese culture as well. When you say this greeting to someone, you’re asking their “lucky star to shine bright” and wishing them good luck and success in life.  

6. 金榜题名 (jīn bǎng tí míng)

Translation: To succeed in the imperial examination


If your greetings bank for your younger school-age cousins is limited to just “学业进步” (xué yè jìn bù), it’s time for you up your game. 

Level up with this saying which translates to a wish for someone to succeed in “imperial examinations”. While imperial examinations were abolished in China during the Qing Dynasty in 1905, Singapore’s still got national exams so use this to wish someone academic success. Who knows, it just might help them the next time they’re dealing with notoriously difficult exam questions.

7. 锦绣前程 (jǐn xiù qián chéng)

Translation: Bright future

This Chinese idiom wishes someone a good future ahead. It’s another good phrase to keep in mind if you have relatives who are still young or in school. 

8. 寿比南山 (shòu bǐnán shān)

Translation: May you live a long and happy life

Needless to say, respecting our elders is extremely important, so try to have at least one CNY greeting in the bank for them. And generally, you’d want to wish them a long and healthy life – which is precisely what this phrase is all about. 

To score some bonus points, you may also throw in the phrase 福如东海 (fú rú dōng hǎi) beforehand to wish them boundless fortune.

9. 升官发财 (shēng guān fā cái)

Translation: May you get promoted and receive a raise


Most of us might know that “发财” (fā cái ) means getting rich, but if you add in “升官” (shēng guān) in front, you’ve got yourself a saying that means “receiving a promotion and getting more wealth”. 

TL;DR: Use this to greet any career-minded person you know and hope they give you a fatter angbao

10. 财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn)

Translation: Wishing for money and wealth to generously enter one’s home

Image credit: @jellyfied

Another phrase which brings in the idea of rolling in cash, this greeting wishes for money and wealth to generously enter one’s home. Baller lifestyle, where ya at?

11. 阖家安康 (hé jiā ān kāng)

Translation: May your whole family be safe and healthy

Money and good fortune might be important, but what’s the point of wealth if you don’t have the health to enjoy it? To balance things out, don’t forget to wish your entire family safety and good health with phrases like this one.

Bonus: 虎虎生威, 虎年更猛 (hǔ hǔ shēng wēi, hǔ nián gèng měng)

Translation: To prosper with fury like a tiger and be successful in the Year of Tiger

Image credit: @iceaxe

If we don’t use a tiger-themed greeting in the year of the tiger, can we really say we celebrated CNY this year? Alluding to the fury, might and strength of a tiger, “虎虎生威” (hǔ hǔ shēng wēi) can be used on its own to bid someone prosperity and success in the roaring new year. 

However, throw in “虎年更猛” (hǔ nián gèng měng) – which alludes to the tiger year being even more powerful and vigorous – at the end to add an extra oomph to the phrase and make yourself stand out. 

Well wishes for CNY 2022

Even if you can’t remember all of these greetings, it’ll still be useful to memorise one or two in your head. After all, you never know when they’ll come in handy or score you some extra angbaos.

More CNY articles:

Cover image adapted from: @jellyfied

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