Useful Mandarin Phrases for CNY and the Year of the Rat

This article originally appeared on our sister account, Urban Family Shanghai.

With the Chinese New Year holiday commencing on January 24, you are no doubt getting ready to enjoy your vacation either in China or abroad. For those staying here during the largest national holiday period, you can experience an authentic Spring Festival in the not-so-crowded cities, or dare to venture out and battle the masses at popular tourist destinations. Either way, to help you throw around a few native niceties during the holiday period, weve assembled this special Spring Festival Phrase Guide to get you through CNY. 


Year of the Rat

Sh nin

Spring Festival

Chn ji

New Years Eve

Ch x


Ji rn


L xng

Reunion Dinner

Nin y fn

Red Envelope

Hng bo



Spring Festival Gala

Chn wn



Bin po/ bo zh

Lantern Festival

Yun xio ji


Have a Happy New Year!


Xn nin kui l!

Happy Chinese New Year!


Chn ji kui l!

Wish you have an auspicious year!


Wn sh r y!

Wish you make a good fortune in the coming year!


Gng x f ci!

I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Sh nin sh w de bn mng nin.

I was born in the Year of the Rat. (Short form)

W sh sh.

Whats your Chinese zodiac?


N de shngxio sh shnme?

Whats your Chinese zodiac? (Short form)


N sh shn me?

Wish you good health! 


Zh n shnt jinkng!

Whats the origin of this activity?


Nng gi w jing jing zh xing hu dng de q yun ma?

Whats your plan for the Spring Festival?


Chn ji yu shn me n pi ma?

Can I have some dumplings?


Yu jio zi m?

Whats the filling of the dumplings/tang yuan?


Jio zi/ tng yun sh shn me xiner de? 

Can I take a photo of this?


W nng gi zh g pi zhng zho m?

Does this train go to XXX?


Zh tang hu ch sh q XXX de m?

I dont eat peanut/dairy products/seafood.


W b chi hu shng/ni zhpn/ hi xin. 

READ MORE: 17 Useful Mandarin Phrases for Traveling in China 

Good luck out there and happy Chinese New Year!

[Cover image via Unsplash]

This article was originally published by our sister magazine Urban Family Shanghai. For more articles like this, visit the Urban Family website, or follow the Urban Family WeChat account (ID: urbanfamilyshanghai).

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