新年快乐!

Happy New Year and Year of the Dragon!  To celebrate, let’s have a quick Mandarin lesson, shall we?  新年快乐 is translated as ‘Happy New Year.”  In pinyin, the Romanized spelling of Chinese characters, it’s spelled xin nian kuai le.  I won’t bother with tones because a) it’s too difficult and far better left for someone more qualified to teach you and b) I don’t know how to type it on my computer.  To pronounce:

  • xin is pronounced like “Sheen”, like Charlie Sheen.  As in Crazy Charlie Sheen.
  • nian is pronounced like “nyen”, like the “nyan” in Nyan Cat…so it’s “nee-en.”  OK, so not really like Nyan Cat.  I just wanted an excuse to link it.
  • kuai is pronounced like “why” with a “qu” in front, like the beginning of “quick”.  Or you can say “quay” with a weird fake Cockney accent.
  • le is like it’s spelled. Like you’re pretending you speak French when you really don’t. “I am le tired.  I want le baguette.”

Or you can do it the easier way and have Google Translate say it for you.  But my way is more fun, don’t you think?

For those of you not in the know, today (or most likely yesterday in your time zone) was the Lunar New Year, which is commonly known as Chinese New Year, but is in fact celebrated by lots of cultures across the globe, and not just Chinese.  So really, it should just be called Lunar New Year.  I confess, I am not an expert in New Year’s traditions or folklore or horoscope predictions.  That’s next year because 2013 is the Year of the Snake and that is my zodiac animal.  Not going to lie, I have my chapter in The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes memorized.  I think every Chinese household has one, along with the mandatory peacock feathers (for good luck) and giant wok (because how else do you make authentic Chinese food?)

Regardless if you celebrated New Year’s or not, I wish everyone a prosperous and joyful 2012, with lots of money and fortune heading your way.  And no, I didn’t get that from a fortune cookie.