A Few Holiday Greetings in Vietnamese


New Year and Christmas are coming up soon. T’is the season to be happy.

Or not.

If you don’t know what to say at your Vietnamese-speaking family gathering, or write in your greetings and email, t’is the season to scratch your head 🙂

No fear your elf helper is here.

Well… I’m not an elf, but somehow my rhymes are pouring out with the season.

The English word to know is “Happy”: Happy New Year, Happy Holiday, Happy Christmas (if you speak British English).

The equivalent in Vietnamese is “chúc” (to wish someone well).

Happy New Year – Chúc mừng năm mới / Chúc [someone] năm mới vui vẻ

Jan 1 is the solar calendar New Year, which is called Tết Tây (literally Western Tết)

Merry Christmas – Chúc Giáng Sinh vui vẻ

Christmas is lễ Giáng sinh, or lễ Nô en (from the French word Noel)

Vietnamese kids New Year áo dài

Vietnamese kids New Year áo dài

For the Lunar New Year (Tết / Tết Nguyên đán which falls on Jan 23, 2012), aside from the vui vẻ (joyous) wish, the Vietnamese cultivate a variety of homegrown Happy New Year flavors. These are generally not used during Tết Tây and lễ Giáng Sinh. Pick your favorite below.

Chúc [someone/ someone’s family] thành đạt (thành công) – Wish you success

Chúc [someone/ someone’s family] phát tài, phát lộc – Wish you wealth and prosperity

Chúc [someone/ someone’s family] sức khỏe dồi dào – Wish you good health

Chúc  [someone/ someone’s family] an khang thịnh vượng – Peace and prosperity

Chúc [someone/ someone’s family] năm mới vạn sự như ý – Everything you wish for come true

Chúc [a kid] hay ăn chóng lớn – Wish a kid tp eat well, grow up big

Chúc [grandparents & old people] sống lâu trăm tuổi – Live long to be 100 year old

You can put năm mới (new year) at the beginning (before Chúc) or after the person’s name. Family is gia đình.

And I guess I saved the best for last 🙂

Chúc [someone/ someone’s family] tiền vô như nước – Wish money comes in like water

The full version is

Tiền vào như nước sông Đà – money comes in(to your pocket) strong like the river Đà (that powers Vietnam’s national hydroelectric power station)

tiền ra tí tách như cà phê phin (money drips out slowly like coffee in a fin – if the coffee fin is Starbucks then I guess it’s not very slow :P).

And here’s for you: Năm mới chúc bạn học tiếng Việt giỏi hơn (nữa).


One response »

  1. WOW! Finally I can show my brighter side to my family in Vietnam! I’ve been feeling like a goofball not knowing what to say when I đốt nhang for my Grandfathers and when I attempted to bid my farewell to my aunts, uncles, and cousins as I left Vietnam earlier this year. Cám ơn rất nhiều nhe!
    I wish you very merry holidays!

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