Today I visited a house that had Chinese New Year banners all over. On the stairs, one banner reads 「恭禧發財」, and above a door, another banner reads 「恭喜發財」. Both of these are pronounced exactly the same in Cantonese and Mandarin.


  1. What are their differences in terms of meaning?

  2. Which is 'correct'? (i.e. Which is the canonical or most popular version?)

  3. When people say 「gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4」 / 「gōng xǐ fā cái」 during Chinese New Year, do they mean 「恭喜發財」or do they mean 「恭禧發財」?

  • dictionaries, e.g. bkrs for 恭禧發財 will say "see 恭喜發財" suggesting greater frequency of the latter, 恭喜发财, character frequency numbers: 喜#1606 禧#3886 both: May you have a prosperous New Year! (New Year’s greeting) May you be happy and prosperous! Of course the character 禧 itself may suggest 福, good fortune (besides happiness), (material) welfare (福利);
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 15:15
  • @user6065 Dude, that's an answer. And a good one at that. Post it.
    – Mou某
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 15:37
  • 大半用户坚决反对纠缠于与正题无关的问题,只要问题得到答案,其他的都无所谓了。
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 16:40
  • @user6065 StackExchange is not a pure "ask for help" website, questions and answers are supposed to provide useful information to the whole community. That is why some type of questions are closed on stackexchange. Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


The correct way to write the phrase is「恭喜發財」. This phrase is made up of two words:

  • 「恭喜」, meaning congratulations;
  • 「發財」, meaning to make a fortune.

In contrast,「恭禧」is not actually a word. At most,「恭禧發財」can be viewed as a pun which emphasises the fortune aspect of the phrase, as「禧」(good fortune) is a homophone with「喜」.

  • Hmm. Today I received a traditional daily tear-off Chinese calendar, and the metal part of it reads 「恭禧發財」. If that phrase is indeed wrong, why do I see it all over the place?
    – Flux
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 13:38
  • @Flux it's "wrong" in the same sense that puns are "wrong"; you can't find such words or phrases in dictionaries, and when you learn the language you won't get taught to write words like that.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 13:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.