Originally Posted by coachster
Since you linked it from wiki:
simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财; traditional Chinese: 恭喜發財; pinyin: Gōngxǐ fācái; Hokkien: Keong hee huat chye (POJ: Kiong-hí hoat-châi); Cantonese: Gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4; Hakka: Gong hei fat choi, which loosely translates to "Congratulations and be prosperous". Often mistakenly assumed to be synonymous with "Happy new year", its usage dates back several centuries. While the first two words of this phrase had a much longer historical significance (legend has it that the congratulatory messages were traded for surviving the ravaging beast of Nian, although in practical terms it may also involve surviving the harsh winter conditions), the last two words were added later as ideas of capitalism and consumerism became more significant in Chinese societies around the world. The saying is now commonly heard in English speaking communities for greetings during Chinese New Year in parts of the world where there is a sizable Chinese-speaking community, including overseas Chinese communities that have been resident for several generations, relatively recent immigrants from Greater China, and those who are transit migrants (particularly students).
San Nin Faai Lok!!
Well, actually, the usual phrase "Gong hei fat choi
", often used to mean "Happy New Year", directly translated means: Gong hei
= Happy, fat choi
= fortune/strike it rich. So, Happy Fortune/Strike It Rich
is not exactly the same meaning contained in Happy New Year
from a philosophical standpoint.
For those of us, myself especially, who do not
worship the all mighty dollar, this meaning is not the one that inspires me at the start of a new year.
On the other hand, San Nin Faai Lok
is a direct transaltion of Happy New Year, though. Where San
= New, Nin
= Year, and Fai Lok
So, for those of us with a more philosophical outlook on life, where money is not the be all and end all, this phrase is more appropriate.
I hope I have clearified some of the terms and philosophical meanings behind these phrases.