A Happy New Year --- Timing to Use It

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
A happy new year! --- Honestly, it's only after I started working in this international environment in Japan that I began hearing that greeting even after the turn of the year as well. We say the Japanese cousin of the greeting, which only expresses good wishes for 'the happy opening of a new year,' on and after January 1. So, they may have been influenced by it.

Would you say 'a happy new year' for the meeting salute when you meet your friends, coworkers, etc. the first time in early January, as if you are saying 'hello'? To me it's more like the one you use when you part for the last time in December.

Having said that, I think it's all natural to say that in the new year too as it is (I wish you) a happy new year (ahead of you).

Please enlighten me on the use of the phrase as to its proper timing.

Hiro
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I say it to people -- or they say it to me -- upon our first meeting in perhaps the first week of January, but not really later than that. No one is saying Happy New Year! in week two, even if we haven't seen each other for some time -- although I'm sure there are exceptions to this. :)
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hello, Copy. So you would say it as something like this, wouldn't you?

    (January 2, 2011. Entering the office)
    A: Oh, hi! A happy new year!
    B: A happy new year!
    A: Did you have a good holiday?
    B: Yes, it was good and enjoyable.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    A: Oh, hi! Happy New Year!
    B:
    Happy New Year!
    A: Did you have a good holiday?
    B: Yes, it was
    great.

    "Good and enjoyable" is a little redundant for me. :) And you don't need the article "A" on the greeting. (Typing at the same time as futuromadrileño.)
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I see. So it's 'Happy new year!' as opposed to 'I wish you a happy new year!' and 'Merry Christmas and a happy new year!,' right?
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    We say "Merry Christmas!", to wish each other a merry Christmas, and "Happy New Year!", to wish each other a happy new year.
    Then would it be better to say 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!' without 'a' before 'Happy,' and 'I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'?
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Then would it be better to say 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!' without 'a' before 'Happy,' and 'I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'?
    On second thought, 'a' should stay in as this is not the top of the greeting --- 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!' Correct?

    (I may have to stop asking about the articles, as this thread concerns when to use 'Happy New Year!' I won't ask a further query on the articles after this)

    Hiro
     

    brighthope

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi Hiro san,
    My girlfriend(a Canadian English native) says both are OK but you would hear without "a" more often just because it's easier to say. :)
    I asked her if there was any difference between them (with a or without a before Happy New Year) and she said no.

    (I guess there might be a difference grammatically, but not something you would think as a native speaker - same as variations in Japanese New Year greetings.)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I would not say "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", but I might say, especially on Christmas Day, "Merry Christmas! And have a Happy New Year."

    "Happy New Year" refers to both the new year and New Year's Eve/New Year's Day but "a happy new year" really seems to refer just to the new year.

    "Happy New Year!" before January 1st can mean "have a happy New Year's Eve celebration", "have a happy New Year's Day", or "have a happy new year". On January 1st, it can mean "welcome to a new year" or "I hope you celebrated well". After January 1st, it means something like "Welcome to a new year!".

    Especially after January 1st, "Have a Happy New Year" refers to the whole year, so I would probably not say it after New Year's Eve unless I expect I probably won't see the person for the (rest of the) new year.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It seems there is a fair degree of variation depending on where we live and our acquired habits. I have no problem with "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" - it seems more natural to me than "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" . I will greet people with "Happy New Year" (not a Happy New Year) on the first occasion I meet them up until about the third week of January: that is, people I know well as friends or at work.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hi, Bright, Forero and Andy.

    Thank you all for your enlightenment. I learnt more today.

    Happy New Year, and may you be blessed with a lot of happiness and prosperity the whole year around.

    Hiro
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    As I was wandering past the shops on Saturday I passed a group of friends who had evidently been chatting for a little while. As they split up, each said "Happy New Year".
    I thought it was a bit late, on 22 January, but it must have seemed right to them. No doubt it was the first time this year they had been together.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I just got an email message that ended with Happy New Year!

    And we get to wish people Happy New Year! again in these parts when we celebrate Chinese New Year on 3rd February. :)

    (No - the email message wasn't referring to Chinese New Year.)
     
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