Kung hei fat choy(updated )
Chinese New Year is coming up in about a month.[Note 1] This isn’t a happy year,[Note 2] but if you want to use a traditional greeting when New Year comes, please say Kung hei fat choy (ˈguŋˊhei ˉfatˌtsɔi), not Gōngxĭ fācái.
I was once told by a Mandarin speaker — a coworker — that in Mandarin, the formula greeting for the New Year is actually Xīnnián hăo ‘New Year greetings’. Gōngxĭ fācái is unidiomatic.
Kung hei fat choy (‘May you be prosperous’) is a Southern greeting. When you say Kung hei fat choy, you acknowledge our Southern heritage.[Note 3] But when you say Gōngxĭ fācái you’re not only disrespecting us Southerners by saying our Southern greeting in a Northern language, you aren’t even respecting Northerners because they don’t say it like that.
So when the New Year comes, please say Kung hei fat choy.
Or you can say Xīnnián hăo.
I’m okay with Happy New Year,
but I might respond:
No justice, no peace.