So you've heard these traditional sayings being chanted during "Lo-Hei" (the Yu Sheng toss) or dutifully recited to elder relatives along with a customary pair of tangerines for luck.
But what do they really mean? Here's our take on it, with examples*.
Gong Xi Fa Cai 恭喜发财
This one's easy. It means "Giving You Happiness and Prosperity!"
Who doesn't want that, right?
It's like when you receive ang pows and every single one contains at least $88 or more.
And then you pool together this amount of money into a mutual fund and triple it before the next CNY. This is why people say this very loudly when they enter other people's homes during visits. You must also make sure people say this back to you. If they don't, demand your oranges back.
Wan Shi Ru Yi 万事如意
This one means "A million things go as you planned."
An easy, rosy existence – it's like if you were to take out the profits you made from the mutual fund, place your bets on Donald Trump winning the US Presidential Election and being right!
Obviously this is something that most people covet because they tend to not be very good planners.
So don't be like them. Be a good planner. You can talk to ours here.
Bu Bu Gao Sheng 歩歩高升
"Rise higher with every step!"
No, this isn't inciting you to own a ladder. Neither does it mean you should step on others to get where you want to be. But it does have something to do with promotions at work or getting a bonus! So when you're tossing the yu sheng at the office, say this loudly – hopefully loud enough for your boss to hear.
Nian Nian You Yu 年年有余
"Year after year –ABUNDANCE!"
Can we hashtag #whodowan already?! Year after year of abundance is like a super-performing Par Bonus Fund that keeps on giving high returns every year! Ok sorry, we've got our finance geek on. Anyway, memorise this one and any chance you get, shout it loudly to people. Bonus points if that scares others out of their abundance.
Da Ji Da Li 大吉大利
"Big. Auspicious. Luck."
This one is like the Granddaddy of all the good luck sayings. Of course we want everything big, lucky and auspicious, which means er…lucky. Size, luck and the size of your luck are friends of all when it comes to finances and money. So utter this one when receiving ang pows and before opening them. Your grandparents will approve of this one, we guarantee.
Xin Xiang Shi Cheng 心想事成
"Whatever your heart thinks, you will accomplish!"
If only we can clear emails this way! But seriously, if you have big dreams for this year, like planning your big day, renovating your dream home or going on a vacation of a lifetime, say this to yourself, over and over again. Of course it also helps if you've been regularly contributing to a savings plan like Singlife's MyFlexiSaver as a back-up plan, just in case you can’t pronounce this one properly.
Shen Ti Jian Kang 身体健康
This is an important one; it means "Enjoy good health!"
Everyone knows that health is also wealth. All the money won from your mahjong and Chor Tai Tee games would do no good if you end up too sick to enjoy it. So here's our recommendation: shout this one loudly to yourself every time you're offered pineapple tarts or bak kwa – as a reminder to go easy on these tempting but dangerous festive confections. If you want to do more to safeguard your health, look here.
*Singlife takes no responsibility for those who end up offending friends, family members, Chinese scholars or themselves as a result of taking this article too seriously.
Happy Lunar New Year, everybody! Huat ah!