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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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your chinese new year search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| zi / zi
| (noun suffix); son; child; seed; egg; small thing; 1st earthly branch: 11 p.m.-1 a.m., midnight, 11th solar month (7th December to 5th January), year of the Rat; Viscount, fourth of five orders of nobility 五等爵位[wu3 deng3 jue2 wei4]; ancient Chinese compass point: 0° (north)
(1) fruit; nut; (2) seed; (3) (in broth) pieces of meat, vegetable, etc.; (4) content; substance; first sign of Chinese zodiac (The Rat, 11pm-1am, north, November); (suffix) (archaism) (honorific or respectful language) honorific (or familiar) suffix used after a name; (1) child (esp. a boy); (2) viscount; (3) (honorific or respectful language) master (founder of a school of thought, esp. Confucius); (4) philosophy (branch of Chinese literature); non-Confucian Hundred Schools of Thought writings; (5) (archaism) you (of one's equals); (suffix noun) (6) -er (i.e. a man who spends all his time doing...); (1) (obscure) child; (n,n-suf) (2) (obscure) interest; (n,n-suf) (1) child; (2) young (animal); (3) young woman; young geisha; (4) offshoot; (5) interest; (6) (abbreviation) new shares; (7) player who is not a dealer (in cards, mahjong, etc.); (n,n-suf) (8) (archaism) bird egg; (suffix noun) (9) -er (often of young women); (personal name) Nene; (place-name) Ne; (given name) Shigeru; (female given name) Konoe; (surname) Ko
kumāra; son; seed; sir; 11-1 midnight; child
| nián huò / nian2 huo4
| merchandise sold for Chinese New Year
| chūn jié / chun1 jie2
ch`un chieh / chun chieh
| Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)
Lunar New Year; Chinese New Year; Spring Festival
| chūn yùn / chun1 yun4
ch`un yün / chun yün
| (increased) passenger transportation around Chinese New Year
| dēng mí / deng1 mi2
| riddles written on lanterns (e.g. for the Lantern Festival at the end of Chinese New Year)
| jiù nián / jiu4 nian2
| last year; the Chinese New Year (i.e. the new year in the old calendar)
| yomogirai よもぎらい
hourai / horai ほうらい
houshirai / hoshirai ほうしらい
| See: 蓬萊
(1) Mount Penglai; Penglai Island; enchanted land of perpetual youth from Chinese mythology; (2) sacred mountain (e.g. Mount Fuji, Mount Kumano, etc.); (3) (abbreviation) Kansai New Year decoration (made from food); (4) Formosa; Taiwan; (surname) Yomogirai; (place-name, surname) Hourai; (place-name) Houshirai
| guò nián / guo4 nian2
| to celebrate the Chinese New Year
| diào zhōng huā / diao4 zhong1 hua1
tiao chung hua
| Chinese New Year flower (Enkianthus quinqueflorus)
| nián sān shí / nian2 san1 shi2
nien san shih
| last day of the lunar year; Chinese New Year's Eve
| kyuushougatsu / kyushogatsu きゅうしょうがつ
|| lunisolar New Year; Chinese New Year; Vietnamese Tet
| bàn nián huò / ban4 nian2 huo4
pan nien huo
| to shop in preparation for Chinese New Year
| dà nián sān shí / da4 nian2 san1 shi2
ta nien san shih
| last day of the lunar year; Chinese New Year's Eve
| xīn chūn jiā jié / xin1 chun1 jia1 jie2
hsin ch`un chia chieh / hsin chun chia chieh
| Chinese New Year festivities
| nóng lì xīn nián / nong2 li4 xin1 nian2
nung li hsin nien
| Chinese New Year; Lunar New Year
| féng nián guò jié / feng2 nian2 guo4 jie2
feng nien kuo chieh
| at the Chinese New Year or other festivities
| chūn jié lián huān wǎn huì / chun1 jie2 lian2 huan1 wan3 hui4
ch`un chieh lien huan wan hui / chun chieh lien huan wan hui
| CCTV New Year's Gala, Chinese New Year special; abbr. to 春晚[Chun1 Wan3]
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Year-In Year-Out Have Abundance||年年有餘|
|nián nián yǒu yú
nian2 nian2 you3 yu2
nian nian you yu
|nien nien yu yü
|Broken Mirror Rejoined||破鏡重圓|
|pò jìng chóng yuán
po4 jing4 chong2 yuan2
po jing chong yuan
|p`o ching ch`ung yüan
po ching chung yüan
|Happy New Year||新年快樂|
|xīn nián kuài lè
xin1 nian2 kuai4 le4
xin nian kuai le
|hsin nien k`uai le
hsin nien kuai le
|鼠||nezumi||shǔ / shu3 / shu|
|Monkey||猴||hóu / hou2 / hou|
|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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.