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

By Urban Family, January 20, 2020

0 0


This article originally appeared on our sister website, 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, we’ve assembled this special Spring Festival Phrase Guide to get you through CNY. 


Year of the Rat
Shǔ 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 Rat.
Shǔ nián shì wǒ de běn mìng nián.

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

What’s your Chinese zodiac?
Nǐ de shēngxiào shì shénme?

What’s your Chinese zodiac? (Short form)
Nǐ shǔ shén me?

Wish you good health! 
Zhù nǐ 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/tang yuan?
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!

[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).

more news

Apply Now for 2020-21 School Year at Wellington College International Hangzhou

Admissions for the 2020-21 academic year at Wellington College International Hangzhou are now open.

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

Handy phrases to help you survive Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year at Jiashan Markets this Saturday

Jiashan markets are throwing a Chinese New Year market this weekend to celebrate the upcoming Spring Festival.

Shanghai closes firework stalls to limit pollution over Chinese New Year

Legal firework stalls in residential areas have been shut down, alongside many others. Firework free areas have also been expanded downtown.

A Record Breaking Year in Chinese Film

Entering 2013, there were grave concerns about the domestic film industry. One year later and the country posted a record-breaking year with films grossing over RMB20 billion for the first time ever, with domestic films making up 58 percent of that review. That's looks at a record-breaking year for films and film biz deals.

It’s Now Yangmei Season in China, Here’s What You Need to Know

Here’s what you need to know about China’s popular summer fruit.

8 of Shanghai's Best Parks

It’s the perfect time to check out some of Shanghai's most popular parks. Here’s our pick of the best.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.