7 Chinese New Year Songs to Celebrate Like a Native Speaker
The Lunar New Year, locally known as Spring Festival, is one of the biggest holidays in China.
And just as you might sing “Auld Lang Syne,” Chinese people have their own songs to celebrate the New Year.
In this blog post, you’ll learn seven classic Chinese New Year songs to increase your Chinese vocabulary, deepen your cultural knowledge and of course, impress your native-speaker friends.
- 1. “恭喜恭喜” (Congrats!)
- 2. “新年来到多热闹” (How Lively Is the New Year)
- 3. “新年团圆” (New Year Reunion)
- 4. “年来了” (Year Has Come)
- 5. “好今年更好” (This Year Is Better)
- 6. “嘻嘻哈哈喜洋洋” (Joy New Year)
- 7. “马力全开庆丰年” (Rev Up the Power to Welcome a Prosperous Year)
1. “恭喜恭喜” (Congrats!)
Pinyin: gōng xǐ gōng xǐ
“恭喜恭喜” is a very common and traditional Chinese New Year song.
The song title is something you’d say to people when they get married, have a child, start a business, etc.
On Chinese New Year, people say “恭喜恭喜” to congratulate each other on the new year. It’s almost the equivalent of saying “新年好” (xīn nián hǎo), or “Happy New Year.”
(měi tiáo dà jiē xiǎo xiàng)
In every wide street and narrow line
(měi ge rén de zuǐ lǐ)
In everyone’s mouth
(jiàn miàn dì yī jù huà)
The first sentence
(jiù shì gōng xǐ gōng xǐ)
Is congrats! congrats!
This song reflects the hope and joy of a new year’s start.
- 恭喜恭喜 (gōng xǐ gōng xǐ) — congratulations
- 好的消息 (hǎo dí xiāo xī) — good news
2. “新年来到多热闹” (How Lively Is the New Year)
Pinyin: xīn nián lái dào duō rè nào
“新年来到多热闹” is a more modern song, released in 2013.
It emphasizes the noise and revelry of Chinese New Year and gives us an excellent opportunity to learn lots of Chinese onomatopoeia.
(xīn nián duō rè nào)
New Year is such a bustling time.
(dīng dīng dāng dīng dīng dāng)
Ding ding dong.
(nǐ qiāo luó lái wǒ gē chàng)
You beat the gong and I’ll sing.
(gē shēng liáo liàng zhèn sì fāng)
(Our) voices ring from four directions
- 叮叮当 (dīng dīng dāng) — ding ding, as in the sound of bells or cymbals
- 呯呯嗙 (píng píng pāng) — ping pang, as in the sound of firecrackers
- 咚咚呛 (dōng dōng qiāng) — dong chang, as in the sound of a gong
3. “新年团圆” (New Year Reunion)
Pinyin: xīn nián tuán yuán
“新年团圆” is an even newer song, released in 2015 by artists Stella Chung and Nick Chung—a brother-sister Mandopop duo from Malaysia.
The song’s name means New Year reunion and refers to families and loved ones getting together at Chinese New Year.
团圆 (tuán yuán) means reunion and 团圆饭 (tuán yuán fàn) is the reunion meal. This meal is a key part of Chinese New Year culture, similar to how families eat together during Thanksgiving in Western culture.
(xīn nián dào)
New year is here
(hǎo yùn dào)
Good luck is here
(rén rén zhǎn xiào yán)
Everyone has bright smiles
- 团圆 (tuán yuán) — reunion
- 团圆饭 (tuán yuán fàn) — reunion meal
- 笑颜 (xiào yán) — smiles
4. “年来了” (Year Has Come)
Pinyin: nián lái liǎo
“年来了” is a recent song by music group M-Girls, and it’s loaded with interesting Chinese cultural tidbits.
Have you ever wondered why people hang red paper decorations during Chinese New Year?
Or why they beat gongs and set off firecrackers?
This song explains a traditional myth about New Year, in which a bad luck ghoul called 年兽 (nián shòu) needs to be kept away through various customs.
Hanging red on the doorframe, making festive, loud noises and other New Year customs stem from a belief that these things will scare the ghoul away.
(ā gōng shuō nián shòu pà hóng chūn lián)
Grandpa says the Nian monster is afraid of red paper decorations.
(ā ma shuō jiā lǐ yào dǎ sǎo yì biàn)
Grandma says we need to tidy the house.
(bà ba shuō biān pào yào xiǎng lián tiān)
Dad says we need to set off loud firecrackers.
妈妈说 打锣打鼓 年兽就不会再出现
(mā mā shuō dǎ luó dǎ gǔ nián shòu jiù bú huì zài chū xiàn)
Mom says, beat the drum and gong so that the Nian monster will not appear again.
- 春联 (chūn lián) — red paper decorations, usually long strips that frame the main entrance
- 打鼓 (dǎ gǔ) — play the drum
- 打扫 (dǎ sǎo) — tidy up
5. “好今年更好” (This Year Is Better)
Pinyin: hǎo jīn nián gēng hǎo
“好今年更好” (also by Nick and Stella) is the perfect song for new beginnings and New Year’s resolutions.
The song is called “This Year Is Better” and talks about new starts and moving forward.
(zhè shì yí ge xīn de kāi shǐ)
This is a new start
(zhè shì yí ge xīn de dàn shēng)
This is a new birth
新的计划, 新的理想, 新的发展
(xīn de jì huà, xīn de lǐ xiǎng, xīn de fā zhǎn)
New plans, new ideals, new breakthroughs
- 计划 (jì huà) — plan
- 理想 (lǐ xiǎng) — ideals
- 发展 (fā zhǎn) — breakthrough
6. “嘻嘻哈哈喜洋洋” (Joy New Year)
Pinyin: xī xī hā hā xǐ yáng yáng
“嘻嘻哈哈喜洋洋” is the ultimate song for the Year of the Sheep.
喜洋洋 (xǐ yáng yáng) means joyful, but it’s phonetically similar to the word for “sheep,” 羊 (yáng).
(zhù fú nǐ nián nián xǐ yáng yáng)
Wishing you joy every year.
(sòng gěi nǐ fù guì yòu ān kāng)
Giving you riches and good health.
Health and wealth are highly valued in Chinese culture, and are often mentioned in New Year’s greetings.
- 喜洋洋 (xǐ yáng yáng) — joyful
- 富贵 (fù guì) — riches
- 安康 (ān kāng) — health
7. “马力全开庆丰年” (Rev Up the Power to Welcome a Prosperous Year)
Pinyin: mǎ lì quán kāi qìng fēng nián
“马力全开庆丰年” is about the Year of the Horse.
The title means “Rev up the power to welcome a prosperous year.” 马力 (mǎ lì) is literally “horsepower,” as in the strength of a car (just like in English).
(xīn yì nián)
New Year is here
(zhù shàng xīn xiān)
All things are fresh
(shēn xīn zài yí shùn jiān)
Our hearts and bodies are all the once
(chōng mǎn diàn)
- 马力 (mǎ lì) — horsepower
- 新鲜 (xīn xiān) — fresh
- 充电 (chōng diàn) — recharge (as in recharge batteries)
Songs are just one of the many creative ways you can immerse yourself in the Chinese language and culture.
The melodies and rhythms of songs help our brains to store linguistic information, making music an excellent language-learning resource!
So this Chinese New Year, enjoy it as you renew for your best year yet.