How to Say ‘Happy New Year’ in More Than 30 Languages

Michele Debczak
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! / Mike Powell/The Image Bank/Getty Images
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New Year’s Eve parties look different around the world. South Africans mark midnight by tossing household items through their windows, and the Spanish and those in Latin America celebrate by stuffing their mouths full of grapes. If committing to a new custom this year sounds like too much effort, there’s an easier way to include different cultures in your festivities.

The video below from Innovative Language Learning’s YouTube channel shows you how to say “happy New Year” in 34 languages. Each phrase is spelled out and spoken out loud. After watching the 110-second clip enough times between now and December 31, you can learn how to pronounce everything from xīnnián kuàilè (“happy New Year” in Chinese) to gelukkig nieuwjaar (“happy New Year” in Dutch). And if you don’t have the bandwidth to learn well-wishes in 34 languages over the holidays, maybe stick to short and simple sayings like the Italian buon anno or the Hebrew shannah tovah.

Some cultures don’t need words to ring in the New Year. In the Philippines, midnight is celebrated by making noise in any way imaginable. Lighting fireworks, shooting guns, and banging pots and pans are believed to scare away any evil spirits trying to crash the party. Here are more interesting New Year superstitions from countries across the globe.

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