Correct (?) Greeting for Chinese new year

Tomorrow (January 25) is the start of the Chinese New Year. And you probably would want to use the Chinese greetings using the English Alphabet (because admittedly, we can’t write or type the Chinese characters) in your social media posts.

Kung Hei Fat Choi” has obviously been the more popular greeting among the ones we see in Philippine media, commonly said and printed on banners, advertisements and different forms of media. But this greeting is Cantonese.

And this set of four Chinese characters literally means “Congratulations and wishing you prosperity!” Actually, it doesn’t even mean “Happy New Year.”

However, considering that majority of the Chinese Filipinos here in the Philippines speak the Hokkien dialect, I recommend that we say the greeting in Hokkien, which is pronounced and spelled as “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai.” Tsinoys will appreciate to hear the greeting in the dialect they understand.

Hokkien is the dialect spoken in Fujian province where most of the Chinese-Filipinos come from.

If you happen to be in China and if you want to say the greeting in Mandarin, China’s official language (and spoken by the most number of people in the world), use the greeting that is written and spelled formally as “Gong Xi Fa Cai“.

According to Willard Cheng, “Tsinoys do not understand and speak “Kung Hei Fat Choi.” It’s like saying “Maayong buntag” (Good morning) to a Tagalog who doesn’t understand and speak Bisaya”.

So, let’s start banishing “Kung Hei Fat Choi” from our vocabulary and start to practice saying the greeting in Hokkien, “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai,” which is widely understood by Tsinoys here.

Spread the word, “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!

If you want to greet your friend “Happy New Year” in Mandarin, say it as “Xin Nien Kwai Le” (formally written as “Xin Nian Kuai Le”). In Hokkien, say it as “Sin Ni khòai lok.”

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!

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