A new year often comes with new beginnings and resolutions like learning another language. So why not kick off your journey to learn German with learning to say "Happy New Year" in the language. Just like wishing someone Merry Christmas in German, there are several ways to say "Happy New Year" in the language. In this post, I explain the different ways of how to wish someone all the best in the New Year.
The most common way to wish someone Happy New Year in German is to say
"Frohes neues Jahr!" (Joyous/Happy New Year!)
This phrase is used both on New Year's Eve ("Silvester" in German) and well into January of the New Year. The grammatical reason why it is "frohes neues Jahr" is because "ich wünsche" (I wish) is implied, which means that the "Happy Near Year" becomes the accusative case in German. And since "Jahr" is neuter and no article is used, the adjective ending has to reflect the gender of year. Its slightly more casual and shorter way of putting it is
"Frohes Neues!" (Happy New One!)
Just as common a phrase but used in the days before New Year's eve is
"Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr" (All the best for the New Year!)
Its literal translation is interesting, though, for it literally translates as "good slide into the new year". It is used to wish someone a smooth start into the New Year rather than a tongue-in-cheek warning that you should be careful not to fall on ice and slide into it. Given the often icy weather conditions in German-speaking countries around that time of year, this would obviously make sense. However, the phrase actually derives from the Yiddish phrase “a git Rosch” (ראש השנה טוב), which means “a good beginning.”
So, to everyone reading this, all the best for the New Year (alles Gute für das neue Jahr).
On our German language blog "Auf Deutsch, bitte!", you'll find posts about many other topics in German grammar, ranging from adjective endings, the difference between "in der Nähe von" and neben, sein vs. ihr, mögen vs. gern vs. gefallen, "denn" vs. "dann", "brauchen" vs. "müssen", but you will also learn phrases such as how to say "Merry Christmas" in German, so check out our posts.