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How to Say ‘Cheers’ and ‘Happy New Year’ in 30 Countries

Languages Holidays
by Nickolaus Hines Dec 18, 2019

Ringing in the new year is a call for celebration around the world. As the clock strikes midnight, friends, couples, and families call out cheers and well wishes for a happy New Year. The year turns over on the Western calendar first in Australia and then around the rest of the world. Some places celebrate with a toast of Champagne, others with a kiss on the cheek, and many with both.

This is how the world says “Happy New Year” and offers a hearty cheers (when appropriate) for good measure.


Kenya: In Swahili, “Happy New Year” is heri ya mwaka mpya, and to cheers is vifijo (cheers) or maisha marefu (a long life).

Madagascar: The Malagasy translation for “Happy New Year” is tratry ny taona, while a traditional cheers is mirary fahasalamana (good health).

Nigeria: English is the official government language in Nigeria, but there are hundreds of languages spoken. Three of the main languages are Hausa, Ibo, and Yoruba. In Hausa, “Happy New Year” is barka da sabon shekara, in Ibo it’s ezi afọ ọhụrụ, and in Yoruba it’s e ku odun, eku iyedun.

Ethiopia: “Happy New Year” is melikami ādīsi ‘ameti, and a common cheers is letenachin (good health) or simply “cheers.”

South Africa: “Happy New Year” in Afrikaans is gelukkige Nuwe Jaar, and other than saying “cheers,” you can also say gesondheid (to your health).


China: On Chinese New Year, say xin nian hao for “Happy New Year,” and gān bēi (essentially drink your glass) for cheers. You can also say gong hei fat choy (Cantonese) or gong xi fa cai (Mandarin), which translates to “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”

Japan: “Happy New Year” in Japanese is akemashite omedetou gozaimasu, and a traditional cheers is kanpai, or “empty your glass.”

Korea: Wish people good fortune in the new year with saehae bog manh-i bad-euseyo, and make a toast with gunbae.

Philippines: “Happy New Year” in Tagalog is maligayang bagong taon. A traditional cheers is mabuhay (long life).

Thailand: S̄wạs̄dī pī h̄ım̀ is “Happy New Year,” while a typical cheers is chok dee.


Czech Republic: “Happy New Year” is šťastný nový rok, and a toast to each others’ health is na zdravi.

Denmark: The Danish way to say “Happy New Year” is godt nytår, and cheers with skål.

Finland: Wish someone a “Happy New Year” with hyvää uutta vuotta, and follow it up with a cheers by saying kippis.

France: The French say bonne année for “Happy New Year.” A casual cheers is tchin-tchin while a more formal is à la votre (generally, “to your health”). Whichever way you cheers, make sure to look people in the eyes or else it’s bad luck.

Germany: Say “Happy New Year” with frohes neues Jahr, and cheers with prost.

Hungary: Wish a “Happy New Year” by saying boldog új évet. One way to cheers is with egészségedre (to your health), or you can go with fenékig (until the bottom of the glass).

Iceland: Gleðilegt nýtt ár is “Happy New Year,” and a traditional cheers is skál.

Italy: Buon anno is how to say “Happy New Year,” and a typical way to say cheers is with cin cin or salute.

Ireland: You can always go with English, but “Happy New Year” in Irish is bliain nua shona. To cheers with a good Guinness or Irish whiskey in hand, say sláinte (good health).

Netherlands: The Dutch say “Happy New Year” with gelukkig nieuwjaar, and a typical toast is proost.

Romania: “Happy New Year” is an Nou Fericit, and a classic cheers in Romania is noroc (good luck).

Scotland: The Scottish Gaelic way to say “Happy New Year” is bliadhna Mhath Ùr, and cheers is slàinte. On New Year’s, expect at least one singing of “Auld Lang Syne,” written by beloved Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Spain: “Happy New Year” in Spanish is feliz año nuevo, and cheers to health with salud.

Ukraine: Wish people a “Happy New Year” with shchaslyvoho Novoho roku, and cheers with budmo.

North America

Mexico: “Happy New Year” is feliz año nuevo, and a typical cheers is salud (health).

Central America

Costa Rica: Like other Spanish-speaking countries, “Happy New Year” is feliz año nuevo. To cheers, you can use salud or Costa Rica’s motto, pura vida (literally translates to “pure life” but indicates a relaxed, simple lifestyle).

South America

Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Spanish-speaking South America: In Argentina and Spanish-speaking South America, wish your friends a “Happy New Year” with feliz año nuevo and cheers with salud.

Brazil: “Happy New Year” is feliz ano novo, and a typical cheers is saúde.

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