Poor translation and wrong use of Chinese New Year greetings in some of the shopping malls in Singapore have drawn flak on social media recently. As CNY approaches, this is a great opportunity to not only teach your little one some basic greetings, but also let them understand the meaning behind these greetings, so that they know how to use them appropriately!
To do this, first, let your little one correctly identify all the relatives that he/she is going to meet this CNY. We often hear children in Singapore simply addressing the grown-ups as "Uncle" or "Auntie", which does not truly reflect the more accurate (and also more complicated) family naming system in Chinese culture.
Adding on to the chart above, there are also the cousins --- 堂哥、堂姐、堂弟 and 堂妹 refer to cousins on the paternal side, while 表哥、表姐、表弟 and 表妹 refer to cousins on the maternal side.
Next, teach your child these 8 basic CNY greetings that can be used during the 拜年 rounds. Explain to your child the meaning of these greetings, and to whom they can consider using these greetings on.
For instance, 身体健康 can be used on grandparents, while 恭喜发财 can be used on adult relatives who are running businesses, or on adults generally. 步步高升 can be used on adults who have already started working, and can also be used on cousins who are schooling. 青春美丽 can be used to wish female teenage or adult cousins, and your little one will surely receive a HUGE smile/hug/ang bao in return!
Lastly, for a little hands-on activity, cut out the CNY greetings and the pictorial flash cards below, and encourage your child to match the appropriate CNY greeting(s) to each relative. Repeat this a few times, and your child is ready to go 拜年！
Download our CNY greetings and Family Pictorial Flash Cards here.
Check out our CNY recommended picture book titles here.
Get your CNY story pack and have fun bonding with your child now!