Happy New Year!

The Korean way to say “Happy New Year” is “새해 복 많이 받으세요” (sae-hae bok mani baduh-sae-yo).
 
새해 (sae-hae) means “new year”.
복 (bok) means “luck” or “fortune”.
많이 (mani) means “much”.
받으세요 (baduh-sae-yo) is the polite form of 받다, which means “to receive”.
 
Translated literally, it means “new year fortune much please receive”. This is also why a word-for-word translation of Korean to English doesn’t make sense. And vice versa; a word for word translation of “Happy New Year” would be “행복한 새로운 년”, and we all know that that’s not correct.
 
I like the Korean greeting more than the English one (although I’m probably biased from hearing it all my life). “Happy New Year” seems to emphasize New Year’s Day itself, while “새해 복 많이 받으세요” is a blessing for the whole year. Moreover, receiving fortune in the year doesn’t necessarily mean that your year will be happy. By wishing “새해 복 많이 받으세요”, I am not necessarily wishing for your emotional satisfaction (although I am wishing for that), but more for your personal blessing.
 
In any case, “Happy New Year” and “새해 복 많이 받으세요” to all of you!

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