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Traditions

December 23, 2023

How to Say “Merry Christmas” Around the World

A Very Merry Linguistic Voyage

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Close-up of Christmas ornament shaped like planet earth on the background of the Christmas tree.

iStockPhoto / Tgordievskaya

Celebrating Christmas isn't only about decorating the tree, singing Christmas carols, and gathering around a toasty fire with family exchanging gifts. One of the most significant parts of this globally celebrated holiday is sending warm and heartfelt greetings to your friends, family, acquaintances and strangers you pass on the street. 

A traditional 'Merry Christmas' can be made even more colorful by incorporating greetings from different corners of the world. So, let's embark on a linguistic journey and discover how to say Merry Christmas in different languages: Spanish, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and French. 

How do you say Merry Christmas in Spanish?

Hola, Spain! Christmas, known as “Navidad,” is widely celebrated in Spain, Mexico, and various parts of Latin America. If you wish to spread some Christmas cheer in Spanish, you would say “Feliz Navidad.” Pronounced as fay-lees nah-vee-dahd, it's one of the most recognized Christmas phrases worldwide, thanks to José Feliciano's 1970 carol.

How do you say Merry Christmas in German?

Travel to the land of the Christmas markets: Germany. Germany's long-standing Christmas traditions are known worldwide. If you have friends or colleagues from Germany, you can greet them by saying “Frohe Weihnachten,” pronounced as fro-uh vy-nahkh-ten. This greeting holds significant relevance in other countries where German is spoken, like Austria and Switzerland.

How do you say Merry Christmas in Italian?

Viva Italia! Italians love Christmas and have distinct, charming traditions for celebrating “Natale.” To wish Merry Christmas in Italian, you say “Buon Natale,” pronounced as bwon nah-tah-leh. With Italy's vast cultural influence globally, this Italian greeting is recognizable by many, spreading warmth and holiday cheer.

How do you say Merry Christmas in Hawaiian?

Let's journey to the beautiful islands of Hawaii next. Known for their spirit of “Aloha” and love for celebrations, the people of Hawaii enjoy a vibrant Christmas season. If you'd like to give your holiday wishes a Hawaiian touch, say “Mele Kalikimaka,” pronounced as may-lay kah-lee-kee-mah-kah. This phrase also serves as the title of a popular Christmas song.

How do you say Merry Christmas in French?

Our last stop takes us to France, home to iconic Christmas markets and an impressive festive atmosphere. The French say “Joyeux Noël” to wish Merry Christmas. Pronounced as zhwa-yuh noh-ehl, this greeting resounds throughout the Francophone world, making it one of the most universally recognized holiday phrases.

As we go around the globe and discover how to say Merry Christmas in different languages we realize that while traditions may vary, the warmth, love, and cheer the season brings remains universal. So, no matter where you are, or how you say it, a heartfelt “Feliz Navidad,” “Frohe Weihnachten,” “Buon Natale,” “Mele Kalikimaka,” or “Joyeux Noël” is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face and make the holidays merrier.

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