Useful Mandarin Phrases for Spring Festival and the Year of the Dog

By Urban Family, February 13, 2018

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201711/originally-uf.jpgThis article originally appeared on our sister website, Urban Family Shanghai.

By Natalie Foxwell & Yuzhou Hu

With Chinese New Year commencing February 16, 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, we've developed a special Spring Festival Phrase Guide to get you through.


Year of the Dog
Gǒu nián

Spring Festival
Chūn jié

New Year's Eve
Chú xī

Jiā rén

Lǚ xíng

Reunion Dinner
Nián yè fàn

Red Envelope
Hóng bāo



Spring Festival Gala
Chūn wǎn

Biān pào/ bào zhú

Lantern Festival
Yuán xiāo jié


Have a Happy New Year!
Xīn nián kuài lè!

Happy Chinese New Year!
Chūn jié kuài lè!

Wish you have an auspicious year!
Wàn shì rú yì!

Wish you make a good fortune in the coming year!
Gōng xǐ fā cái!

I was born in the Year of the Dog.
Gǒu nián shì wǒ de běn mìng nián.

What's your Chinese zodiac?
Nǐ de shēng xiào shì shén me?

Enjoy good health!
Shēntǐ jiànkāng!

What's the origin of this activity?
Néng gěi wǒ jiǎng jiǎng zhè xiàng huó dòng de qǐ yuán mā?

What's your plan for the Spring Festival?
Chūn jié yǒu shén me ān pái mā?

Can I have some dumplings?
Yǒu jiǎo zi mā?

What's the filling of the dumplings/rice balls?
Jiǎo zi/ tāng yuán shì shén me xiàn’er de?

Can I take a photo of this?
Wǒ néng gěi zhè gè pāi zhāng zhào mā?

Does this train go to XXX?
Zhè tang huǒ chē shì qù XXX de mā?

I don't eat peanut/dairy products/seafood.
Wǒ bú chī huā shēng/nǎi zhìpǐn/ hǎi xiān.

READ MORE: 17 Useful Mandarin Phrases for Traveling in China 

Good luck out there and happy Chinese New Year!

Read more on Chinese New Year Spring Festival 2018 here.

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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