Happy Lunar New Year! On February 1, 2022, the new moon marks the beginning of Lunar New Year, a holiday celebrated with a cornucopia of color, dance, friends and family, food, and of course – festive Lunar New Year greetings.
Often referred to in Western cultures as “Chinese New Year,” this year ushers in the Year of the Tiger. Lunar New Year isn’t constrained to just one day. On the contrary, the celebrations last almost two weeks, culminating with the Lantern Festival on February 15th.
Widely celebrated across the world, Lunar New Year has a rich symbolism and numerous ancient legends associated with it. But if you’re new to celebrating Chinese New Year, you might have many questions: What colors should you use in a greeting card? What are common Lunar New Year greetings? What’s the meaning behind the red lanterns, Chinese zodiac, and animals associated with each year? Most importantly, how do you celebrate with your family and friends? We’ve compiled all of the answers for you here.
After reading this, you’ll be able to celebrate a happy new year with traditional Lunar New Year greetings. You’ll also learn how to create your own Chinese New Year greeting cards, flyers, backgrounds, and social media posts.
What Is Lunar New Year?
If you know a thing or two about ancient cultural holidays, you probably know that many were closely linked to natural occurrences like the changing of seasons. For example, many western societies follow a Gregorian or solar calendar that is based on a single rotation of the Earth around the Sun. However, there are also lunar calendars that are based on the phases of the moon.
Lunar New Year, which originated in China around 3,500 years ago, is usually celebrated on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, sometime between late January and the middle of February. The exact date changes every year since it’s based on the lunar cycle.
Every Lunar New Year is named after one of 12 animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. According to ancient legend, an Emperor held a race for these 12 animals. First came the rat, then the ox, followed by the tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and finally, the pig. According to Chinese astrology, if the year ends with 0 or 1, it’s the year of Metal, if with 2 or 3 it’s the year of Water. A Year ending in 4 or 5 indicates the year of Wood, 6 or 7 is the year of Fire, and 8 or 9 is the year of Earth. Each year also has associated lucky traits, numbers, colors, and even directions. Put this all together and you can see that Lunar New Year in 2022 is the celebration of the Water Tiger.
Who Celebrates Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year is celebrated in several Asian countries, each with its own traditions. This includes China, Singapore, North and South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand. It’s also celebrated in cities with a significant Chinese population, such as London, New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver.
While there are some differences in how Lunar New Year is celebrated across the world, some common ways include lighting firecrackers, gifting small sums of money in red envelopes, and coming together for family dinner with traditional dishes. It also includes getting rid of clutter and cleaning the house before the New Year; watching street performances with acrobats, dragon and lion dancers; and lighting red lanterns that symbolize wealth, hope, and a bright future.
Traditional Chinese Greetings for Lunar New Year
One the easiest ways to celebrate a holiday is by sharing typical greetings with friends, family, and coworkers. Whether it’s written out on a greeting card, printed on a flyer, shared on social media, or said in person, it’s a fun way to share the joy of the season.
Check out these traditional Lunar New Year greetings in Chinese and their English translations. Remember to add 祝您 (“Zhu nín”), which means “Wish you,” for a more formal greeting.
Lunar New Year Greetings for Business Associates and Colleagues
- Let’s get the basics covered with the most common Lunar New Year greeting: 恭喜发财, pronounced “gong she fa tsai,” is how you say “Congratulations and prosperity to you” in Mandarin. This is an especially relevant greeting for the business world.
- If you’re feeling particularly generous or just aren’t sure what the person you’re greeting desires most, it’s always nice to go with 吉祥如意 (pronounced “jíxiáng rúyì”), meaning “Happiness and good fortune according to your wishes.”
- This Lunar New Year greeting is particularly well-suited for adventurers and risk-takers. Try greeting someone with 吉星高照 (“jíxīng gāozhào”), “May the lucky star shine on you,” and see their face light up with wishes of good luck.
Lunar New Year Wishes for Family and Friends
- Since modern China has switched to the Georgian calendar, the beginning of the lunar year is now also celebrated as the Spring Festival. This means you can also say “Happy Spring Festival,” 春节快乐 (“chūn jiē kuài lè” in Mandarin and “tsun zit fai lok” in Cantonese).
- And while you’re at it, why not go all out and say 福如东海 (“Fú rú dōnghǎi”): “May your happiness be as big as the Great Eastern Sea.”
- And finally, this common Lunar New Year greeting: 身体健康, (“shēntǐ jiànkāng”) means “Wish you good health.
Greetings for the Year of the Tiger
Now that you have the traditional greetings to wish someone a happy Chinese New Year, let’s dive in to some that are specific to the Year of the Tiger.
- Wish someone prosperity this year by saying: 虎年大吉 (“hǔ nián dà jí”), meaning “Good Luck in the Year of Tiger.”
- Emphasize a year of continued good luck by saying: 虎运连年 (“hǔ yùn lián nián”). This means, “As lucky as the Tiger year after year.”
- Say this one and hear the tiger roar! Wish friends and family: 虎啸祥瑞 (“hǔ xiào xiáng ruì”), meaning “The Tiger roars for an auspicious new year.”
- This Lunar New Year greeting calls for a great Year of the Tiger. Say 虎气冲天 (“hǔ qì chōng tiān”), to celebrate, “A great Tiger Year ahead!”
Lunar New Year Design Ideas To Celebrate
It’s time to celebrate! We love eating our fair share of nian gao, a cake commonly consumed during Chinese New Year, with friends and family. But we also love designing Lunar New Year greeting cards, flyers, social media posts, invitations, and backgrounds to welcome in the Year of the Tiger.
Picsart has a whole range of creative tools to help you easily make happy Chinese New Year content. Ready to create your own? We’ve broken down some ideas and tutorials below for the best Chinese New Year yet.
Lunar New Year Greeting Cards
Wondering why the color red is typically used on a Chinese New Year greeting card? According to ancient legend, the color red, along with fire and noise, was used to defeat Nian, the voracious half-lion half-bull that used to terrorize villagers on New Year’s Day. This is why you commonly see vibrant red colors on Chinese New Year greeting cards (often paired with gold colored script).
Want to design your own Chinese New Year greeting card in Picsart? You could start with a Picsart greetings card template. Or you can design from scratch.
Here’s how to do it in the app:
1) Open the Picsart app and tap on the plus sign (+) at the bottom of the screen.
2) Select from a variety of Lunar New Year backgrounds or upload your own. Want to work off of a plain red background? Tap on Draw & Color, then tap on More in the Backgrounds section and select a shade of red using the color wheel.
3) Scroll across the Editor toolbar on the bottom of your screen and tap on Sticker. Search for Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year in the search bar. Here you’ll find a large collection of Chinese New Year designs in red and gold as well a new Year of the Tiger content. You can also search for lanterns, dragons, firecrackers, etc. Tap on your favorites to add to your greeting card, reposition, and click Apply in the upper right corner.
4) Scroll across the Editor toolbar and tap on Text. Write in one of the sayings from the above Lunar New Year greetings section. Then, tap on the upper right checkmark. Now it’s time to pick a font. Scroll right to pick from common fonts or tap the up arrow to search for a specific one. Tap on Color to select a golden shade. Click Apply when you’re done editing the text.
5) Save and share your custom Lunar New Year greetings.
Lunar New Year Flyers
If you’re designing a Lunar New Year flyer, consider using a pale yellow background with a large red circle to signify the moon. This makes for an interesting reversal of the common red and gold colors seen on Lunar New Year greeting cards shown above. If this is your first time making a flyer, check out our flyer making guide.
Here’s how to create a Chinese New Year flyers using Picsart web tools:
1) Open the Picsart Web Editor and start a new project. You can either upload one of your own photos or choose from our collection of Free to Edit photos. In this case, we picked one with a pale yellow background.
2) Click on Elements in the Editor toolbar on the left and select a circle. Drag to reposition and resize. This will become your red moon.
3) Click on the color drop icon in the toolbar above your canvas to open the color wheel and select the perfect shade of red.
4) Click on Text in the Editor toolbar on the left to add in Lunar New Year greetings. You can also any in any other relevant information here. Play around with the text tools in the above toolbar, changing the color, font, and more.
5) Add festive Lunar New Year stickers by clicking on Stickers in the Editor and searching for our latest content packs. When you’re done with your custom Chinese New Year flyer design, click Export to download to your device.
Lunar New Year Social Media Posts
Consider creating a social media post wishing your fans warm Lunar New Year greetings. There are tons of social media templates in Picsart, perfectly sized for whatever platform you’re posting on. Use them to easily create everything from Instagram Stories to Facebook feed posts that spread happy new year cheer.
Lunar New Year Backgrounds
Want to mix it up? Create a custom phone wallpaper to celebrate the start of a happy new year. Use a classic red shade for a vibrant Chinese New Year phone background or opt for a muted yellow with red as an accent.
Alternatively, you use colors or images of the ruling animal of the year. For the Year of the Tiger, the lucky colors are orange, black, and blue. It’s said that these will help usher in good fortune, wealth, and career advances.
However you choose to celebrate, we wish you good health and prosperity in the Year of the Tiger!
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