In relation to the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) I've heard different names, as you can see from what I just wrote.

In Chinese we have:

春節 / 春节 = Spring Festival
Chūn jié

農曆新年 / 农历新年 = Chinese New Year
Nóng lì xīn nián

or simply (more general)

新年 = New Year

Apart from the last one, which I doubt is the most used when referring specifically to the Chinese New Year, which one is the most common expression in China? And are these the only ones?

  • @ciaocibai: I included the other wording too. Now it's even clearer. :D
    – Alenanno
    Jan 18, 2012 at 22:52

2 Answers 2


The most common expression should be 春节.

农历新年 is a kind of rare.

We have another word for January 1st (not spring festival), 元旦(yuan2 dan4). So 新年 is normally the Chinese New Year.

Another expression is 阳历年(yang2 li4 nian2) for January 1st, 阴历年(yin1 li4 nian2) for spring festival. 阳历年 may be used more often, as 阴历年 is the default.


春节 is commonly used. 农历新年, 阴历年, etc. are rare.

Another common expression is simply 年, but it usually needs to be used in context, e.g. 过年, 拜年, 大年初一, etc.

More example: '年味', '你的年打算怎么过?'

Note the last example, it is not 'How do you plan to spend this year?', but 'How do you plan to celebrate the Spring Festival?' See http://news.xinhuanet.com/city/2012-01/20/c_122610924.htm for a real usage example.

  • Why do you think this answer would be useful when 1) The question was resolved three months ago; and 2) Two-thirds of your answer is exactly the same as the accepted answer, and the remaining one-third is completely wrong? (The 年 in "过年, 拜年, 大年初一" does not refer to the festival, just as the word in "新年" does not refer to the festival. It simply means year.)
    – Yang
    Apr 13, 2012 at 4:29
  • 1
    I answered because the only other answer missed one very common and important expression: '年'. Check baike.baidu.com/view/19365.htm#sub7694482. Your understanding is wrong.
    – Betty
    Apr 13, 2012 at 6:10
  • 1
    @X.Yang The first point has no reason actually. You can answer even answered questions and if a new answer is better, I can even change my accepted answer. :) I'm not sure about the second point, but the first is wrong.
    – Alenanno
    Apr 13, 2012 at 9:01
  • @Betty You can answer any question, no matter how many answers it has, as long as you genuinely think you're "answering" and not just "commenting" (that would be a comment). :)
    – Alenanno
    Apr 13, 2012 at 9:01

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