What to Write in a Lunar New Year Card

Chinese Lunar New Year Card with Red Envelope and oranges

Lunar New Year is the most important celebration of the year for those who follow the lunar calendar. It’s a time for families and friends to gather together to feast on foods with symbolic meanings and to exchange gifts and good wishes for the year to come. If you’re looking for the perfect wish to write in a Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year card, we’re here to help.

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How People Celebrate Lunar New Year  

While Lunar New Year is celebrated in many different countries, Chinese New Year celebrations specifically incorporate lots of Chinese cultural elements. It’s increasingly common for Chinese New Year to simply be referred to as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. One of the most well-known components of this celebration is the 12-year cycle of the Chinese animal zodiac.

The festivities last for about two weeks and include joyful family gatherings with foods like noodles (to signify a long life) and dumplings (to signify wealth). Fireworks and firecrackers are burned to ward off evil spirits, red is worn as a symbol of luck and dragon and lion dances are performed—they’re believed to bring good luck and good fortune. Red envelopes (lai see in Cantonese or hong bao in Mandarin) containing money are also commonly given to children and young unmarried adults and symbolize good wishes and luck for the year ahead.

Whether you’re taking part in this annual tradition or you just want to send a note to someone who does, here are a few ideas for what to write.

Helpful tip: Can you send a Lunar New Year card even if you don’t celebrate it yourself? Absolutely! Acknowledging important traditions for friends or colleagues is a wonderful way to show care, kindness and acceptance.

Traditional Greetings and Sayings  

Most Lunar New Year cards include a simple wish. If you have nothing more to add, that’s fine. Just writing a warm closing and your name is sufficient.

If you would like to add a traditional wish, the most common Chinese New Year greeting in Cantonese is “gong hei fat choy” and translates to “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.” In Mandarin, the same greeting is “gong xi fa cai.

Simply saying “Happy New Year” in Mandarin is “xin nian kuai le” and “san nin fai lok” in Cantonese.

Wishes for Family and Friends  

Not surprisingly, wishes for happiness, health and peace are always appropriate to send to friends and family at this time of year.

Whether your greeting is said in person while presenting a thoughtful gift basket or mailed in a card, here are some ideas of what to say:

  • “Wishing you lots of luck and happiness in the year ahead.”
  • “May this new year bring you good health and good fortune.”
  • “Happy New Year! You make our family so proud, and we wish you nothing but continued success and happiness.”
  • “Hope this new year brings you good fortune, peace and prosperity.”
  • “Thinking of you and your family and wishing you all a year that outshines the rest.”
  • “It’s that time of year for feasting, celebrating and looking forward to a happy and prosperous year ahead. Enjoy every moment!”
  • “Health, wealth and endless joy is what I wish for you and your family this year.”

Helpful tip: While Lunar New Year wishes do tend to sound a bit formal, it’s perfectly okay to infuse your own personality and voice into the message you create.

Wishes for Business Associates and Colleagues  

While it can sometimes be considered impolite to talk about money and wealth in western culture, it’s perfectly appropriate—if not expected—to offer money-related greetings in Lunar New Year cards. This is especially true if the card is for colleagues, managers or clients. You might say something like this:

  • “Hope this new year brings you much happiness and success in your career.”
  • “May this year bring you good fortune and great wealth.”
  • “May your business flourish and bring you lots of joy in the new year.”
  • “Wishing you a year of abundance and prosperity.”
  • “Hope you achieve great success in everything you do this year and always.”

We hope these ideas help you celebrate with friends, family and colleagues this Lunar New Year.