Christmas Wishes in Any Language

December 24, 2012
The many ways you can wish someone “Happy Holidays.”

Christmas folk art reindeer

Although I am not a linguist and only communicate in English—and not even that as well as I would like—I thought it would be fun to see what others say when they say “Merry Christmas.”

So I looked at the World of Christmas website where they have a list of 113 countries with the words they use to wish someone a Merry Christmas. I can’t possibly pronounce ninety percent on them.

We English-speakers get by with only four syllables. The length of greetings in some languages, like Iroquois, astound me. Does that mean they put more meaning into the greeting than we do, or is their language just more complex? Or are they saying something like “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” which would take nine syllables in English, if I am counting right.

Then there is the matter of what people do when they don’t want to offend anyone. Do they instead say “Happy Holidays?” Fortunately, there are translations below for those as well, except for Iroquois. I tried the “Google translate” program but apparently Iroquois is not prominent enough to include it. Of course, there are other languages Google doesn’t include, such as Bohemian.

In any case, I wish you joy and peace with whatever celebration you will have this year.

Country

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays

Chile Feliz Navidad Felices Fiestas!
Chinese (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan Jie Ri Yu Kuai
Dutch Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast Prettige feestdagen
English Merry Christmas Happy Holidays
French Joyeux Noel Joyeuses Fêtes!
Gaelic Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!.. Beannachtaí na Féile
Catalan Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou! Bones Festes!
German Froehliche Weihnachten Forhe Feiertage
Hawaiian Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou! Hau’oli Lanui (pronounced how-oh-lay la-new-ee)
Italian Buone Feste Natalizie Buone Feste!
Iroquois Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Swedish God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År Trevlig Helg!
Portuguese.. Feliz Natal Boas Festas!
Rumanian Sarbatori vesele Sarbatori Fericite!

 

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