New Year's Greetings in German, Region by Region

Saying "Happy New Year" varies depending on the area of the country

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When you want to say "Happy New Year" to someone in German, you will most often use the phrase Frohes neues Jahr. Yet, when you're in different regions of Germany or other German-speaking countries, you may hear different ways to wish someone well in the new year. 

Augsburg University in Bavaria conducted a study to find out which New Year's greetings dominated certain regions in Germany. The results are quite interesting, with some areas of Germany sticking with tradition, while others offer variations of the greeting.

"Frohes Neues Jahr"

The German expression, Frohes neues Jahr literally translates to "Happy New Year." It is widely used in German-speaking countries, particularly in the northern and western states of Germany. This phrase is most common in northern Hesse (the home of Frankfurt), Lower Saxony (including the cities of Hanover and Bremen), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (the coastal state along the Baltic Sea), and Schleswig-Holstein (the state that borders Denmark).

As often happens, some Germans prefer a shorter version and will simply use Frohes neues. This is especially true in many areas of Hesse and in the wine country of Mittelrhein.

"Prosit Neujahr"

It is becoming increasingly more common for many German speakers to use Prosit Neujahr instead of the traditional "Happy New Year." In German, prosit means "cheers" and neujahr is a compound word for "new year."

This phrase is scattered regionally and is often used in the area around the northern city of Hamburg and northwestern Lower Saxony. You will also likely hear it in many parts of western Germany, particularly around the city of Mannheim.

There is also a smattering of its usage in the southeastern region of Germany in the state of Bayern. This may be due, in part, to an influence from eastern Austria and Vienna, where Prosit Neujahr is also a popular greeting.

"Gesundes Neues Jahr"

The German phrase Gesundes neues Jahr translates to "Healthy New Year." You will hear this greeting most often when traveling through eastern regions of Germany, including the cities of Dresden and Nuremberg as well as the Franconia region in the south-central part of Germany. It may also be shortened to Gesundes neues.

"Gutes Neues Jahr"

Meaning "Good New Year," the German phrase Gutes neues Jahr is also popular. This version is most often used in the country of Austria.

In Switzerland and the German state of Baden-Württemberg in the southwest corner of the country, you may hear this phrase shortened to Gutes neues. It's also possible that you'll hear this saying in the state of Bavaria, which includes Munich and Nuremberg. Yet, it's most often concentrated to the south, closer to the Austrian border.

Standard New Year's Greeting

If you are unsure of which greeting to use or find yourself in an area of Germany not described previously, you can use a few standard New Year's greetings that are widely accepted. They are:

  • Alles Gute zum neuen Jahr! > Best wishes for the new year!
  • Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! > A good start in the new year!
  • Ein glückliches neues Jahr! > Happy New Year!
  • Glück und Erfolg im neuen Jahr! > Good fortune and success in the new year!
  • Zum neuen Jahr Gesundheit, Glück und viel Erfolg! > Health, happiness, and much success in the new year!

Use one of these phrases, and you can't go wrong, regardless of where you find yourself throughout Germany or German-speaking counties.