Kung Hei Fat Choi or Kung Hei huat chai ?

Today, January 25, 2009 is considered as “New Year’s eve” (just much like our December 31) for our Chinese brothers and sisters. Tomorrow, Monday January 26, 2009 marks the New Year for 2009 for the Chinese.

Unlike our Gregorian Calendar which is based on the position of the earth on its revolution around the sun, the Chinese follows the “Lunar calendar” which is based on the cycles of the moon phase. However strictly speaking, the Chinese do not follow the Lunar calendar but follow what is known as a “Lunisolar” calendar. In a Lunisolar calendar, months are based on the Lunar cycle, however intercalary months are added in order that the lunar calendar might somewhat be in sync with the solar based calendars. Lunisolar calendars is what is being followed by the Chinese, Hebrew and Hindus. Only the “Hijri” calendar which is used by the Muslims follow a purely lunar year.

Anyway, in celebration of the Chinese New year, I sent an SMS message to some of my Chinese friends with the greetings “Kung Hei Fat choi” to greet them a happy new year. Kung Hei Fat Choi has become a common greeting in the Philippines when Chinese New Year comes along.

However one of my friends texted me back and replied “Kung Hei huat chai” I figured out that I was probably wrong in my “Kung Hei Fat Choi” greeting and that the proper greeting should have been “Kung Hei huat chai.”

I soon discovered that Kung Hei Fat Choi is the Cantonese version of greeting somebody with the lunar Happy new year. However the words in Cantonese actually mean “Congratulations and be prosperous” and not “Happy new year” as I previously thought. Cantonese by the way is the dialect (or language as others argue) of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangxi in southern mainland China.

Most Chinese Filipinos come from China’s Fijuian province. In that region of China, the Hokkien dialect is being used. So the proper term that should be used to greet Filipino Chinese should be “Kung Hei huat chai” and not “Kung Hei Fat Choi.” For those who would like to greet Chinese who speak Mandarin, the proper greeting is “X?n Nián Kuài Lè”

So to all our Filipino Chinese brothers and sisters “Kung Hei huat chai”, and of course the traditional greeting “Kung Hei Fat choi” for a hopefully prosperous new year despite the world financial crisis. (Anybody interested in inviting me to a party ? hehehe don’t worry i’llmake sure to bring Apidexin)

In the meantime here is an inspiring youtube video commercial for the Chinese New Year 2009 from Petronas of Malaysia.

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2 Responses to Kung Hei Fat Choi or Kung Hei huat chai ?

  1. Kristian says:

    now i know sir….”Kung Hei Fat choi” doesn’t really mean happy new year!hehe..

  2. zigfred says:

    Kristian: hehehehe “Kung hei fat choi” to your new blog and welcome to the world of blogging !

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