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Chinese New Year in Chinese...

Buy a Chinese New Year calligraphy wall scroll here!

Start your custom "Chinese New Year" project by clicking the button next to your favorite "Chinese New Year" title below...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Happy New Year
  2. Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance
  3. Rat / Mouse
  4. Monkey
  5. Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature
  6. Broken Mirror Rejoined


Happy New Year

China xīn nián kuài lè
Happy New Year

If you want to wish someone a happy new year this is the way. You can hang this up during Western New Years (Dec 31st - Jan 1st) and keep it up until after Chinese New Years which happens in either January or February of each year (it changes from year to year because China uses a lunar calendar).

Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance

China nián nián yǒu yú
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance

年年有餘 is a common proverb or wish of prosperity you'll hear around the time of Chinese New Years.

Directly translated character by character it means, "Year Year Have Surplus." A more natural English translation including the deeper meaning would be "Every Year may you Have Abundance in your life."

On a side note, this phrase often goes with a gift of something related to fish. This is because the last character "yu" which means surplus or abundance has exactly the same pronunciation in Mandarin as the word for "fish."

This is also one of the most common titles for traditional paintings that feature koi fish.

In China, this phrase might make an odd wall scroll - a customer asked especially for this common phrase which is why it appears here. See my other abundance-related words if you want a wall scroll that will seem more comfortable in Chinese culture.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean, but it's not a commonly used term.


See Also:  Prosperity | Good Fortune

Rat / Mouse

Year of the Rat / Zodiac Sign
China shǔ
Japan nezumi
Rat / Mouse

鼠 is the character for rat (and sometimes mouse) in Chinese, old Korean, and Japanese.

If you were born in the year of the Rat, you . . .


Are sensitive and smart.
Easily to adapt to the new environments.
Have a curious nature.
Are good at using the opportunities that are presented to you.

In some contexts, this character could mean "mouse."


See also our Chinese Zodiac page.

Monkey

Year of the Monkey / Zodiac Sign
China hóu
Monkey

猴 is the character for monkey in Chinese.
猴 means ape in Japanese due to a error made long ago as Japan absorbed Chinese characters.

If you were born in the year of the monkey, you . . .


Are smart, brave, active and competitive.
Like new things.
Have a good memory.
Are quick to respond
Have an easy time winning people's trust.
Are however, not very patient.


See also our Chinese Zodiac page.

Note: This character does have the meaning of monkey in Korean Hanja but is not used very often.

Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature

China qí lǐn
HK keilun
Japan kirin
Kirin / Giraffe / Mythical Creature

This word is the title of a mythical beast of Asia.

The animal is thought to be related to the giraffe, and in some ways, it is a giraffe. However, it is often depicted with the horns of a dragon or deer and sometimes with the body like a horse but many variations exist.

In Japanese it is pronounced "Kirin" as in "Kirin Ichiban" beer.

Kirin - Mythical Beast and Great Japanese Beer!
Notes:

1. This is sometimes spelled as "kylin".

2. In Japanese, this is the only Kanji word for giraffe. Therefore in Japan, this word needs context to know whether you are talking about the mythical creature or the long-necked giraffe of Africa.

3. Apparently, this was the first word used for regular giraffes in China (some were brought from Africa to China during the Ming Dynasty - probably around the year 1400). Though the mythical creature may have existed before, the name "qilin" was given to the "new giraffe". This is because, more than 600 years ago, giraffes somewhat matched the mythical creature's description when Chinese people saw them for the first time. Later, to avoid such an ambiguous title, a three-character word was devised to mean a "giraffe of Africa". The characters for "qilin" shown here are only for the mythological version in modern Chinese.

4. More information about the qilin / kirin from Wikipedia.

5. This creature is sometimes translated as the "Chinese Unicorn", even though it is generally portrayed with two horns. I think this is done more for the fantasy aspect of the unicorn and because most westerners don't know what a qilin or kirin is (this avoids a long explanation by the translator).

6. In Korean, this can mean kirin or simply giraffe (usually the mythological creature is what they would think of when seeing these characters alone on a wall scroll).

Broken Mirror Rejoined

Used in modern times for divorced couples that come back together
China pò jìng chóng yuán
Broken Mirror Rejoined

A husband and wife separated and reunited.

About 1500 years ago in China, there lived a beautiful princess named Le Chang. She and her husband Xu De Yan loved each other very much. But when the army of the Sui Dynasty was about to attack their kingdom, disposed of all of their worldly possessions and prepared to flee into exile.

They knew that in the chaos, they might lose track of each other, so the one possession they kept was a bronze mirror which is a symbol of unity for a husband and wife. They broke the mirror into two pieces, and each of them kept half of the mirror. They decided that if separated, they would try to meet in the fair during the 15th day of the first lunar month (which is the lantern festival). Unfortunately, the occupation was brutal, and the princess was forced to become the mistress of the new commissioner of the territory, Yang Su.

At the Lantern Festival the next year, the husband came to the fair to search for his wife. He carried with him, his half of the mirror. As he walked through the fair, he saw the other half of the mirror for sale at a junk market by a servant of the commissioner. The husband recognized his wife's half of the mirror immediately, and tears rolled down his face as he was told by the servant about the bitter and loveless life that the princess had endured.

As his tears dripped onto the mirror, the husband scratched a poem into his wife's half of the mirror:


You left me with the severed mirror,
The mirror has returned but absent are you,
As I gaze in the mirror I seek your face,
I see the moon but as for you, I see not a trace.


The servant brought the inscribed half of the mirror back to the princess. For many days, the princess could not stop crying when she found that her husband was alive and still loved her.

Commissioner Yang Su, becoming aware of this saga realized that he could never obtain the love of the princess. He sent for the husband and allowed them to reunite.

This proverb in Chinese is now used to describe a couple who has been torn apart for some reason (usually divorce) but have come back together (or remarried).
It seems to be more common these days in America for divorced couples to reconcile and get married to each other again. This would be a great gift if you know someone who is about to remarry their ex.

Search for Chinese New Year in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Happy New Year 新年快樂
新年快乐
xīn nián kuài lè
xin1 nian2 kuai4 le4
xin nian kuai le
xinniankuaile
hsin nien k`uai le
hsinnienkuaile
hsin nien kuai le
Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance 年年有餘
年年有馀
nián nián yǒu yú
nian2 nian2 you3 yu2
nian nian you yu
niannianyouyu
nien nien yu yü
niennienyuyü
Rat
Mouse
nezumishǔ / shu3 / shu
Monkey hóu / hou2 / hou
Kirin
Giraffe
Mythical Creature
麒麟kirinqí lǐn / qi2 lin3 / qi lin / qilin ch`i lin / chilin / chi lin
Broken Mirror Rejoined 破鏡重圓
破镜重圆
pò jìng chóng yuán
po4 jing4 chong2 yuan2
po jing chong yuan
pojingchongyuan
p`o ching ch`ung yüan
pochingchungyüan
po ching chung yüan
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.

Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...

Adventure
Aikido
Angel
April
Brave Heart
Bushi
Bushido
Bushido Code
Crisis
Desire
Destiny
Disciple
Dona
Eishin Ryu
Enso
Eternal
Fighter
Fighting Spirit
Forever
Forgiveness
Free Will
Friend
Grace
I Love You
Infinity
Integrity
Jing Mo
Kamikaze
Listen
Long for Death
Love
Mountain
Never Give Up
No Worries
Panda
Peaceful Warrior
Perfect
Polo
Power
Prince
Rebirth
Reiki
Rose
Self-Control
Shinobi
Silence
Snake
Soulmate
Strong Hearted
Trust
Water
Will Power
Wing Chun
Yellow

All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.


Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

Some people may refer to this entry as New Year Kanji, New Year Characters, New Year in Mandarin Chinese, New Year Characters, New Year in Chinese Writing, New Year in Japanese Writing, New Year in Asian Writing, New Year Ideograms, Chinese New Year symbols, New Year Hieroglyphics, New Year Glyphs, New Year in Chinese Letters, New Year Hanzi, New Year in Japanese Kanji, New Year Pictograms, New Year in the Chinese Written-Language, or New Year in the Japanese Written-Language.