Riches a recurrent theme in Chinese culture, especially around Chinese new year. Fortune-related greetings for businesses include 财源广进 (cai yuan guang jin), or 'may riches enter in huge volumes', and 生意興隆/生意兴隆 (sheng yi xing long), or 'may the business thrive greatly'.年年有餘/年年有馀 (nian nian you yu), 'surpluses every year', as well as 马到成功 (ma dao cheng gong), 'instant success', are spot on both for businesses and individuals.
For 2017, the year of the rooster, there do not seem to be many greetings which incorporate the character for chicken, 鸡. A Singapore supermarket, NTUC, has made a pun on a greeting with homonym for the character instead. 处处生机 means 'opportunities everywhere', as 机, which can mean 'opportunity', is pronounced the same way as 鸡.
Drinks manufacturer Pokka* is wishing everyone 吉祥如意 (ji xiang ru yi) - all the happiness and prosperity that you hope for, but with a pun on 鸡, which sounds similar, and another on 翔, which sounds like 祥, but means to 'soar' in keeping with the avian theme.
|Chinese new year 2017 greetings on an arch over the entrance of NTUC supermarket in Jurong Point, Singapore.|
|Pokka* puns on the character for chicken with an auspicious greeting in advertising in the train stations.|
|Poster from Vitagreen** advertising a Chinese new year with a pun on the word for chicken. Instead of 机会难得 (ji hui nan de) or rare opportunity, Vitagreen offers rare benefits from chickens, 鸡惠 (ji hui).|
Things have been easier in previous years. 马到成功 was especially apt in 2014, the lunar year of the horse, as the character for horse, 马, begins the greeting, but it can be used at any other time as well. There were also a number of puns on 'immediately',马上 (ma shang), which can also be taken to be 'on the horse'; many shops were selling horse figurines with money and other things on a horse as a wish for immediate fortune in 2014.
2015 was the year of the goat (or sheep), and there are a few festive greetings that take advantage of how the word for goat, 羊 (yang), is a homonym found in various Chinese idioms.阳光灿烂 (yang guang can lan) is a wish for bright sunlight or a bright future; 喜气洋洋, converted to 喜气羊羊 (xi qi yang yang) for the year, refers to happiness everywhere; while 羊羊得意, really 洋洋得意 (yang yang de yi), is a wish that the recipient will get whatever he or she wants, in the best way possible.
Beyond these traditional greetings are some which are more relevant to those working. 新年进步 (xin nian jin bu), which means 'making progress in the new year', 心想事成 (xin xiang shi cheng), 'may your wishes come true', and the simple 工作顺利 (gong zuo shun li), 'may your work go smoothly', will all be well received. 事业有成 (shi ye you cheng) 'success in what you're working on' , 升官发财 (sheng guan fa cai) get a promotion and a raise', and 平步青云 (ping bu qing yun), 'an easy path to a meteoric rise' are equally auspicious.
If you can't remember too many greetings, don't worry - a simple 'happy new year' is fine. The whole idea is to start off the year right, and it's traditional to hope for fortune, prosperity and success. Don't mention anything negative, and you'll be fine.万事如意 (wan shi ru yi), 'may all things be as you wish'!
*Spotted in the wild on 11 January and added 12 January.
**Spotted in the wild on 18 January and added 20 January,