On New Year's Day of 2009, "Happy Niu Year," a sentence featuring Chinese and western elements, becomes the most popular new year greeting.
"Niu" (Chinese for ox) in the Chinese zodiac happens to have a similar pronunciation to the English word "new," therefore "Happy New Year," a widely-used greeting was cleverly changed by some individuals to "Happy Niu Year"(Happy Year of the ox).
The English language and traditional Chinese folklore culture are perfectly combined in this short and concise greeting of good luck. "Niu" which denotes "prosperity" and "mightiness" in popular colloquial language, further expresses the good wishes people have for the Lunar New Year. So "Happy Niu Year" is frequently seen in mobile phone text messages, MSN and QQ status bars, and is repeated by more and more people in conversation.
By People's Daily Online