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8 catchy songs for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year songs, learning Chinese

A fun way to broaden your cultural knowledge about Chinese New Year while building your language skills is by using popular Chinese New Year songs.

To help you do just that, we've compiled a list of eight stellar songs, and crafted a mini-Chinese lesson from each. Enjoy!

"恭喜恭喜" (gōng xǐ gōng xǐ)

"恭喜恭喜" (gōng xǐ gōng xǐ) is a very common and traditional Chinese New Year song. 恭喜恭喜 (gōng xǐ gōng xǐ) means "Congrats! Congrats!" It's something you'd say to people when they get married, have a child, start a business, etc.

In the context of Chinese New Year, people say "恭喜恭喜" (gōng xǐ gōng xǐ) to congratulate each other on a new year. It's almost the equivalent of saying "新年好" (xīn nián hǎo), or "Happy New Year."

This song reflects the customary practice of people congratulating or speaking warm wishes to each other at the New Year.

Learn the Lyrics:

每条大街小巷 / 每个人的嘴里 / 见面第一句话 / 就是恭喜恭喜!

(měi tiáo dà jiē xiǎo xiàng / měi gè rén de zuǐ lǐ / jiàn miàn dì yī jù huà / jiù shì gōng xǐ gōng xǐ)

In every wide street and narrow lane, the words on everyone's lips are "Happy New Year!"

恭喜恭喜恭喜你呀! 恭喜恭喜恭喜你!

(gōng xǐ gōng xǐ gōng xǐ nǐ yā! gōng xǐ gōng xǐ gōng xǐ nǐ!)

Wishing you a Happy New Year, Wishing you a Happy New Year!

冬天已到尽头 / 真是好的消息 / 温暖的春风 / 就要吹醒了大地

(dōng tiān yǐ dào jìn tóu / zhēn shì hǎo de xiāo xī /wēn nuǎn de chūn fēng / jiù yào chuī xǐng le dà dì)

Winter has reached its end, which is great news. The warm winds of spring are blowing upon the earth.

This song reflects the hope and joy of a new year's start.

Learn Vocabulary:

恭喜恭喜 (gōng xǐ gōng xǐ) — congratulations

好的消息 (hǎo dí xiāo xī) — good news

"新年来到多热闹" (xīn nián lái dào duō rè nào)

"新年来到多热闹" (xīn nián lái dào duō rè nào) is a more modern song, released in 2013. This song emphasizes the noise and revelry of Chinese New Year, and gives us an excellent opportunity to learn lots of Chinese onomatopoeia!

Learn the Lyrics:

新年多热闹 / 叮叮当 叮叮当

(xīn nián duō rè nào / dīng dīng dāng dīng dīng dāng)

New Year is such a bustling time. Ding ding dong.

你敲锣来我歌唱 / 歌声嘹亮震四方 / 引得大家齐声唱

(nǐ qiāo luó lái wǒ gē chàng / gē shēng liáo liàng zhèn sì fāng / yǐn dé dà jiā qí shēng chàng)

You beat the gong and I'll sing. Our voices ring from four directions, and everyone will join in.

"Ding dong" refers to the clashing of cymbals and gongs, which are traditional New Year's instruments.

Other onomatopoeia used in this song are 呯呯嗙 (píng píng pāng) for firecrackers and 咚咚呛 (dōng dōng qiāng) for the sound of a gong.

Learn Vocabulary:

丁丁当 (dīng dīng dāng) — ding ding, as in the sound of bells or cymbals

呯呯嗙 (píng píng pāng) — ping pang, as in the sound of firecrackers

咚咚呛 (dōng dōng qiāng) — dong chang, as in the sound of a gong

"新年团圆" (xīn nián tuán yuán)

"新年团圆" (xīn nián tuán yuán) is an even newer song, released in 2015 by artists Stella Chung and Nick Chung. Stella and Nick are a brother-sister Mandopop duo, originally from Malaysia.

The song's name "新年团圆" (xīn nián tuán yuán) means New Year reunion, and refers to families and loved ones getting together at Chinese New Year.

团圆 (tuán yuán) means reunion, and 团圆饭 (tuán yuán fàn) is the reunion meal. This meal is a key part of Chinese New Year culture, similar to how families eat together during Thanksgiving in Western culture.

Learn the Lyrics:

新年到 / 好运到 / 人人展笑颜

(xīn nián dào / hǎo yùn dào / rén rén zhǎn xiào yán)

New year is here, good luck is here. Everyone has bright smiles.

新年新年来团圆/ 乐无边

(xīn nián xīn nián lái tuán yuán / lè wú biān)

New year is here, let's reunite. The joy never ends.

大家一起把手 庆团圆

(dà jiā yī qǐ bǎ shǒu qìng tuán yuán)

Let's put our hands together to celebrate this reunion.

Learn Vocabulary:

团圆 (tuán yuán) — reunion

团圆饭 (tuán yuán fàn) — reunion meal

笑颜 (xiào yán) — smiles

"年来了" (nián lái liǎo)

"年来了" (nián lái liǎo) is a recent song by music group M-Girls, and it's loaded with interesting Chinese cultural tidbits. For example, have you ever wondered why people hang red paper decorations during Chinese New Year? Or why they beat gongs and set off firecrackers?

This song explains a traditional myth about New Year, in which a bad luck ghoul or monster called 年兽 (nián shòu) needs to be kept away through various customs. Hanging red on the doorframe, making festive, loud noises and other New Year customs stem from a belief that these things will scare the ghoul away.

Learn the Lyrics:

阿公说 年兽怕红春联 / 阿嫲说 家里要打扫一遍

(ā gōng shuō nián shòu pà hóng chūn lián / ā ma shuō jiā lǐ yào dǎ sǎo yī biàn)

Grandpa says the Nian monster is afraid of red paper decorations. Grandma says we need to tidy the house.

爸爸说 鞭炮要响连天 / 妈妈说 打锣打鼓 年兽就不会再出现

(bà bà shuō biān pào yào xiǎng lián tiān / mā mā shuō dǎ luó dǎ gǔ nián shòu jiù bu huì zài chū xiàn)

Dad says we need to set off loud firecrackers. Mom says, beat the drum and gong so that the Nian monster will not appear.

Learn Vocabulary:

春联 (chūn lián) — red paper decorations, usually long strips that frame the main entrance

打鼓 (dǎ gǔ) — play the drum

打扫 (dǎ sǎo) — tidy up

"好今年更好" (hǎo jīn nián gēng hǎo)

"好今年更好" (hǎo jīn nián gēng hǎo) is the perfect song for new beginnings and New Year's resolutions. It's also by Nick and Stella. The song is called "This Year Is Better" and talks about new starts and moving forward.

Learn the Lyrics:

这是一个新的开始 / 这是一个新的诞生

(zhè shì yī gè xīn de kāi shǐ / zhè shì yī gè xīn de dàn shēng)

This is a new start, a new birth.

新的计划 / 新的理想 / 新的发展

(xīn de jì huà / xīn de lǐ xiǎng / xīn de fā zhǎn)

New plans, new ideals, new breakthroughs.

Learn the Vocabulary:

计划 (jì huà) — plan

理想 (lǐ xiǎng) — ideals

发展 (fā zhǎn) — breakthrough


"嘻嘻哈哈喜洋洋" (xī xī hā hā xǐ yáng yáng)

"嘻嘻哈哈喜洋洋" (xī xī hā hā xǐ yáng yáng) is the ultimate song for the Year of the Sheep. 喜洋洋 (xǐ yáng yáng) means joyful, but it is phonetically similar to the word for "sheep," 羊 (yáng).

Learn the Lyrics:

祝福你 年年喜洋洋

(zhù fú nǐ nián nián xǐ yáng yáng)

Wishing you joy every year.

送给你 富贵又安康

(sòng gěi nǐ fù guì yòu ān kāng)

Giving you riches and good health.

Health and wealth are highly valued in Chinese culture, and are often mentioned in New Year's greetings.

Learn Vocabulary:

喜洋洋 (xǐ yáng yáng) — joyful

富贵 (fù guì) — riches

安康 (ān kāng) — health


"马力全开庆丰年" (mǎ lì quán kāi qìng fēng nián)

"马力全开庆丰年" (mǎ lì quán kāi qìng fēng nián) is a song about the Year of the Horse. The title means "Rev up the power to welcome a prosperous year." 马力 (mǎ lì) is literally "horsepower," as in the strength of a car (just like in English).

Learn the Lyrics:

新一年 / 注上新鲜

(xīn yī nián / zhù shàng xīn xiān)

New Year is here, all things are fresh.

身心在一瞬间 / 充满电

(shēn xīn zài yī shùn jiān / chōng mǎn diàn)

All at once, our hearts and bodies are recharged.

Learn Vocabulary:

马力 (mǎ lì) — horsepower

新鲜 (xīn xiān) — fresh

充电 (chōng diàn) — recharge (as in recharge batteries)

"小黄人唱新年歌" (xiǎo huáng rén chàng xīn nián gē)

"小黄人唱新年歌" (xiǎo huáng rén chàng xīn nián gē) is a super cute Chinese New Year song sung by the Minions (Universal Studios), The song makes repeated puns on words related to the Year of the Horse. For example, 马上 (mǎ shàng) means "immediately" or "right away," but literally translates as "horse up."

Learn the Lyrics:

马年里 马上有钱 马上有房 马上有一切

(mǎ nián lǐ mǎ shàng yǒu qián mǎ shàng yǒu fáng mǎ shàng yǒu yī qiē)

In the Year of the Horse, get money immediately, get a house immediately, get everything right away.

拜年了 哹 马上有幸福

(bài nián liǎo fu mǎ shàng yǒu xìng fú)

We're off to meet people, hey, get blessings right away.

The song echoes the tradition of wishing people extremely lucky things at Chinese New Year.

Learn Vocabulary:

马上 (mǎ shàng) — immediately

有钱 (yǒu qián) — rich

一切 (yī qiē) — everything

Songs are just one of the many creative ways we can immerse ourselves in Chinese language and culture. The melodies and rhythms of songs help our brains to store linguistic information; in other words, music is like a language-learning shortcut! So this Chinese New Year, enjoy this learning shortcut as you renew for your best year yet.

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