50+ Ways of Saying ‘Merry Christmas’

I have found yesterday HERE this interesting blog post, including many ways of saying Merry Christmas in different languages. This guy’s geography is really messed up (I bet he is American), so I had to do some tweaking. I have also eliminated some comments of doubtful taste, Although I would not bet on the complete accuracy of  it, I add here, for your use, this linguistic Christmas treat. Enjoy!

* * *

North America

  • USA and Canada – The “Land of the Free” and the “Land of the Maple Leaf” share their “Merry Christmas” with the rest of the English-speaking nations and communities all over the world.
  • Pennsylvania (German) – German mixed with local culture brings out this jolly greeting – “En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!”
  • Hawaii – Hawaii may not really be a country, but it has its own distinct Christmas greeting, which is “Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou!”
  • Navajo – American Indians welcome the Christmas spirit by saying “Merry Keshmish!”
  • Mexico and the other American Spanish-speaking countries –  …they greet with a warm “Feliz Navidad”.

South America

  • Brazil – …people celebrate Christmas with a “Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo.”
  • Argentina – Argentine’s meet the 25th of December by saying “Felices Nadidad Y Felices ano Nuevo.”
  • Chile – Just like the most part of Latin America, they say “Feliz Navidad.”

Europe

  • United Kingdom – The English language originated from this country so naturally they say “Merry Christmas!”
  • Wales – The Welsh have their own Christmas greeting – “Nadolig Llawen!”
  • France – The French language makes words sound as smooth as silk. Take the case of their Christmas greeting, “Joyeux Noel!” It’s so exquisite.
  • Italy – Italians are known for their luxury, which is typified in their majestic sounding Christmas greeting – “Buone Feste Natalizie!” [really? could anyone confirm thus?]
  • Spain – …their Christmas greeting, “Feliz Navidad,” is almost as popular as the English “Merry Christmas!”
  • Germany – …Germans say “Froehliche Weihnachten und ein glueckliches Neues Jahr!”
  • Portugal – A simple greeting is all the Portuguese need to celebrate Christmas. It states “Boas Festas.”
  • Hungary – Hungarians meet Santa with a little “Kellemes kara’csonyi u”nnepeket e’s boldog u’j e’vet” for some pleasantries.
  • Sweden –  “God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar!”
  • Iceland – “Gle[eth]ileg jol gott og fars!,” is a warm greeting from a cool country.
  • Serbia – “Hristos se rodi” is a good starter for the Christmas cheer.
  • Lithuania –  “Linksmu Kaledu Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik!”
  • Latvia – Sprinkle some Latvian flavor to Christmas by saying “Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!”
  • Ireland – The Irish …start it with a simple “Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat” then end things with a bang and a barrel of laughs.
  • Bulgaria – If you meet a Bulgarian, just say “Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo!”
  • Norway – There is no excuse for anyone to not greet Norwegians during Christmas. They actually have two versions of the greeting – “God Jul” and “Gledelig Jul.”
  • Greece – A land of beauty and culture normally has an elegant Christmas greeting. Such is the case with Greece and its version of “Merry Christmas,” which is “Kala Christouyenna!”
  • Romania – Sometimes the shortest statements mean pretty significant things. In the case of Romania, their Christmas greeting comes as a short but festive “Craciun Fericit.”
  • Russia – A powerful nation embraces Christmas with an equally powerful greeting – “Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom!”
  • Slovakia – In Slovakia, a Christmas celebration is not complete without saying “Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok!”
  • Poland – Endear the Polish by greeting them “Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie!”
  • Malta – Let your tongue play a little when you say “LL Milied Lt-tajjeb!” with glee.
  • Finland – “Goal!” is prevalent in Finnish ice hockey as “Hauskaa joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta!” is a staple for Finnish Christmas celebrations.
  • Ukraine – The Christmas season is celebrated with greetings of “Srozhdestvom Kristovym” or “Zrizdvom hrystovym” in Ukraine.
  • Yugoslavia – Join the Christmas merriment in Yugoslavia. Tell the people “Cestitamo Bozic!” and they will greet you “Merry Christmas!”
  • Gaelic –  “Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!”
  • Breton – Breton families toss to one another a “Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat” greeting every Christmas.

Asia

  • China – “Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Mandarin),” and “Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun (Cantonese).
  • Hebrew – “Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova” is “Merry Christmas’” in Hebrew.
  • Japan – From the Land of the Rising Sun, people say “Shinnen omedeto. Merii Kurisumasu” every Christmas.
  • Korea – Koreans celebrate Christmas with a wide grin and a “Sung Tan Chuk Ha!”
  • Thailand – Buddhism may be the predominant faith in Thailand, but they still acknowledge Christmas as a celebration. In place of “Merry Christmas!,” Thais say “Sawadee Pee Mai!”
  • Philippines – When Filipinos are not in the mood to speak in English, “Merry Christmas!” becomes a meek and warm “Maligayang Pasko!”
  • Malaysia – Malaysians are known to say “Selamat Hari Natal” to locals and tourists every Christmas.
  • Indonesia – You will know it’s Christmas in Indonesia when you start hearing people say “Selamat Hari Natal!”
  • India – Indians, despite of their strong attachment to Hinduism, acknowledge Christmas by saying “Baradin ki shubh kamnaaye!”
  • Sri Lanka – Just like India, Sri Lankans are strong Hindu believers. Though, that does not stop them from acknowledging a significant event like Christmas. Their official Christmas greeting is “Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa!”
  • Sri Lanka (Tamil) – The Tamils are passionate about their beliefs, including how they revere other faiths like Christianity. They acknowledge Christmas with this greeting “Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal!”
  • Turkey – Christmas is recognized in Turkey, since Jesus is a known prophet in Islam. The nation’s official greeting is “Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun!”
  • Vietnam – Through the lavish Christmas celebrations, you’ll hear people say “Chuc Mung Giang Sinh” to each other.
  • Papua New Guinea – The folks in Papua New Guinea welcome late December with a joyous “Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu!”
  • Iraq – Iraqis don’t say “Merry Christmas,” they instead state ” Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah.”
  • Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia is a kingdom, which means lavish celebrations are held there. If you hear someone say “Milad Majid,” you’re probably attending a Christmas feast.
  • Samoa – Samoans are peace loving people. Naturally, their Christmas greeting, which is “La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou,” has a serene feel to it.

Africa

  • Afrikaaner – The significance of Christmas has reached some of Africa’s main tribes. Afrikaanders greet the Christian holiday “Een Plesierige Kerfees!”
  • Eritrea – “Rehus-Beal-Ledeats,”
  • Afrikaans – This African group greets other folks by saying “Geseënde Kersfees.”
  • Ethiopia – “Melkin Yelidet Beaal”

* * *

You may also find HERE a longer list (about 144 languages), but I think this is not fully accurate either. For instance, for Romanian, instead of ‘Craciun fericit’, which is the actual translation of the greeting, it has ‘Hristos s-a Nascut’, which means ‘Christ is born – a phrase rarely used, and ‘Anul Nou Fericit’ (Happy New Year); we say, in fact. An nou fericit! (and don’t capitalise! But why should I be so picky?

Nevertheless, it is fun to try, if you are in the mood. Let’s hope we do not get angry responses from our friends if we use them.

Hristos s-a Nascut si Anul Nou Fericit

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

2 thoughts on “50+ Ways of Saying ‘Merry Christmas’”

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