From Words to Wisdom is a series highlighting the many ways to say “happy” in Chinese. Each installment will feature four words and their meanings.
Kuai Le () means happiness that lasts over a long period. It’s often used to wish someone happiness during celebrations and festivals.
Discovering various Chinese words that convey different nuances of happiness, including expressions for ‘happy in Chinese,’ can enhance your understanding of how individuals in Chinese culture communicate their joyful sentiments. This knowledge will deepen your insight into their emotional expressions and contribute to more effective communication with them.
Among these words, Kai Xin () is the most commonly used one. Kai Xin means “happy” in the sense of satisfied, pleased, or joyful.
It also describes a situation that makes you happy, such as eating a delicious meal or spending time with friends. The Chinese expression also describes feeling proud or honored, which is close to happiness.
You may use the phrase (kai shi jian le) when expressing your happiness to someone. The first two characters, “kai” and “shi,” mean satisfied and pleased, respectively, and the last two characters, “Jian,” mean happy. The phrase tells others you are so glad and thankful for their help or support.
Kuai Le  translates to exceptionally extended happiness and is often used to wish someone happiness during special occasions or festivals. It can also be used to describe the personality of someone, such as Mary, who is very happy. In popular games on Chinese social networks, such as iLike or Friends for Sale, you can see these words in action.
Gao Xing is a well-known Chinese writer, dramatist, and literary critic. However, relatively little attention has been given to his endeavors as a painter and poet. Wandering Mind and Metaphysical Thoughts is the only collection of Gao’s poetry to date, and Gilbert C. Fong’s translation provides an invaluable window into Gao’s poetic lexicon.
Gao, born in 1949, was educated at state schools and, from 1957 to 1962, studied at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute. He was persecuted as an intellectual during the Cultural Revolution and was forced to destroy his early works. He moved to Paris in 1987 and was granted French citizenship. Gao has since become known as an influential and prolific playwright whose dramas are avant-garde in China. His Absolute Signal and The Bus Stop were groundbreaking in experimental theatre, while his 1989 play Exile sparked controversy for its portrayal of intellectuals in China.
His prose and poetry are characterized by a lyrical sensibility that transcends traditional Chinese values. Gao Xing’s work demonstrates an intelligent understanding of how the Chinese and Western cultures coexist, and his writings suggest that art is an all-encompassing human pursuit that national boundaries should not constrain. His words and artistic vision are a source of inspiration and hope. His life and writings exemplify that the happiness we can achieve in this lifetime is limited only by our imaginations.
There are several ways to say “happy” in Chinese, but “kuai le” is the most common. This greeting is often used to wish friends and family a happy new year or other special occasions. It’s pronounced shin nee-an kwai loo, meaning good fortune throughout the year.
Another popular way to wish a happy new year is with the phrase’ Gong hei fat choy’ or ‘Kung hei fa cai’ in Cantonese. This festive and generous expression translates as ‘wishing you abundance through the year.’ This is a beautiful way to wish happiness on others and is usually followed by a gift of money in red envelopes.
Fu () is another word with the same meaning as “happy”. It can mean contentment or the satisfaction of having enough food and clothing. Fu reflects a traditional Chinese philosophy that happiness lies not in the abundance of wealth but in the ability to have enough.
Lastly, a more informal way to wish a happy new year is ‘xin nian kuai le’ or ‘ shin nee-an kuwai lo’ in Mandarin. This greeting is more of a friendly, casual tone and is commonly used when greeting friends and family on the day of the new year or shortly after. It’s a great way to show appreciation and gratitude for everyone in your life.
With a name like Xing Fu (), one would expect a lifetime of nothing but happiness. However, as with everything in life, Xing Fu’s journey had its ups and downs. For instance, at her wedding, what should have been the happiest day of her life, she faced an unexpected amount of mortification.
Unlike Gao Xin, which translates to “delighted,” Xing Fu describes a more extended feeling of happiness over a longer period. This kind of happiness is the feeling you get when you finally get a good night’s sleep or when your child finally graduates from high school.
While China has made great strides in economic development over the last few decades, there is still a clear divide between the urban and rural communities, with the sophisticated city folk often looking down on their poor country cousins. This theme is clearly illustrated in The Story of Xing Fu, and it should remind everyone that while it’s essential to venture out to see the world, one should always remember where one came from.