Did you make a New Year’s resolution to improve your Thai language skills? Or maybe you are planning on travelling to Thailand for the New Year and want to learn how to say “Happy New Year”?
In Thailand there are actually two New Year’s Days which are celebrated, Jan 1st as well as Songkran สงกรานต์ (song kkraan), which is the Thai New Year based on the Buddhist calendar. It’s also the world famous nationwide water-fight that I can say from many years of experience is super fun.
The “Happy New Year” in Thai that we will learn in this lesson is used for both holidays.
*A Note about the Thai years: The year in Thailand follows the Buddhist Era which is 543 years ahead of the year of the Gregorian Calendar. So to work out the Thai year, you just add 543 to the year of the Gregorian Calendar. So if you were born in 2000, your Thai birth year would be 2543.
3 Ways to Say Happy New Year in Thai
สวัสดีปีใหม่(sawad dee ppee mai)
The most common way to say Happy New Year In Thai is:
- สวัสดีปีใหม่ (sawad dee ppee mai) – Happy New Year
You may recognize the first part – สวัสดี (sawad dee) – as this is the standard Thai greeting.
The next part is ปีใหม่ (ppee mai) which just translates as “New Year”.
This can be used universally with family, friends or passing strangers on the street.
Thai Grammar Tip: Whereas in English, the structure is adjective + noun, in Thai the structure is reversed so it is noun + adjective. So “New Year” in English, is said “Year New” in Thai. Here are some other examples:
- แฟนสวย (fairn suay) – girlfriend beautiful
- บ้านใหญ่ (baan yai) – house big
- หมาน่ารัก (maa naarak) – dog cute
สุขสันต์วันปีใหม่ (suk san wan ppee mai)
Another way to say “Happy New Year” in Thai is:
- สุขสันต์วันปีใหม่ (suk san wan ppee mai) – Happy New Year
สุขสันต์ (suk san) can be used for other celebrations where you want to wish someone happiness or send them your blessings. It works a bit like “happy” or “merry” do in English.
- สุขสันต์วันเกิด (suk san wan gerd) – Happy birthday
- สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส (suk san wan khri-smaad) – Happy Christmas
แฮปปี้นิวเยียร์ (haeppee niw yee-ah)
The English version of Happy New Year may also be used amongst friends and family. Just remember to say it with a Thai accent if you want to sound authentic.
- แฮปปี้ นิว เยียร์(haeppee niw yee-ah)
If you’re a fan of bad jokes (we are) then you can switch the word เยียร์ (yee-ah) for the similar sounding เมีย (mee-ah). This is the Thai word for “wife”. So this sentence ends up sounding like “happy new wife” or “congratulations on your new wife”. It might be fun to use this with your Thai friends (or your girlfriend!) and watch the reactions it gets (probably a combination of groans and face-palms).
- แฮปปี้ นิว เมีย (haeppee niw mee-ah)
Thai people like to use the English version for other kinds of greetings too.
- แฮปปี้เบิร์ดเดย์ (haeppee berd day) – Happy birthday
- เมอร์รี่คริสต์มาส(muerree khris maad) – Merry Christmas
Wishing People Happiness in Thai
At important festivals such as New Year, it’s common to offer your blessings – อวยพร (uay porn) – to friends and family.
When you want to wish someone something the structure is:
A very common message people send at weddings, retirement ceremonies, sad goodbyes is:
- ขอให้มีความสุข (kor hai mee kwaam suk) – I wish you happiness
Thai Grammar Tip: Notice that there are no pronouns in this sentence. In Thai, it’s common to drop pronouns when it’s obvious from the context who the target of the sentence is.
- ขอให้มีสุขภาพแข็งแรง (kor hai mee su-kha-paap keng raeng) – I wish you good health (often used with elders)
- ขอให้รวยๆ– I wish for you to be rich
Thai Script Tip: The Thai symbol ๆ is a repeater signal. It is placed after a word to signal that the word (and sometimes a phrase) should be repeated. In Thai saying a word twice has a few different functions such as adding emphasis or changing the grammatical form of a word.
- รวยๆ (ruay ruay) – really rich (literally: rich rich)
- น่ารักๆ (naarak naarak) – so cute! (literally: cute cute)
- เบาๆ (bao bao) – gently (literally: gentle gentle)
- ช้าๆ (chaa chaa) – slowly (literally: slow slow)
Have a Great New Year!
Hopefully you now know how to say Happy New Year in Thai and wish all of your Thai friends health and happiness for the New Year. So now it’s time for us to say สวัสดีปีใหม่ (sawad dee ppee mai) Happy New Year and ขอให้เก่งภาษาไทย (kor hai geng phaasaa thai) I wish for you to speak great Thai!