Tag Archives: Charles Dickens and Queen Elizabeth

Difference between “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Christmas”

Merry Christmas Vs Happy Christmas

The word “Merry” stems from the old English myrge, which means “pleasing, agreeable, pleasant or sweet”, and Christmas stems from the late Old English Cristes mæsse, that means “Mass of Christ.”

christmas-mistletoe-icon

The greeting “Merry Christmas” dates back to  1565, when the author of the Hereford Municipal Manuscript wrote “And thus I comytt you to God, who send you a mery Christmas & many.”  It was solidified as a capitalized greeting by Charles Dickens in his great work A Christmas Carol.

charles-dickens-christmas          queen-elizabeth-happy-christmas

Charles Dickens and Queen Elizabeth

However, Queen Elizabeth didn’t like how “merry” sounds. That’s the reason why she preferred “happy” to “merry” , and she used it in her broadcasts to her subjects, so the term gained popularity over the following decades and it is still the most common form in Great Britain and Ireland.

Odd as it may seem, the fact is that today, in England and much of its  Commonwealth, the common greeting is “Happy Christmas”  whereas “Merry Christmas”, a more archaic expression,  is what people say in America.

So Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas to all my fellow readers!
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Merry Christmas in Spanish
¡Feliz Navidad!
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Merry Christmas in Catalan
Bon Nadal!
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Merry Christmas in Basque
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Eguberry on!
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Merry Christmas in Galician
Bo Nadal
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Merry Christmas in French:
Joyeux Noël
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Merry Christmas in German:
Frohe Weihnachten

Merry Christmas in Italian:
Buon Natale

Merry Christmas in Portuguese:
Feliz Natal

Merry Christmas in Japanese:
メリークリスマス

Merry Christmas in Russian:
С Рождеством

Merry Christmas in Dutch:
Vrolijk kerstfeest

Merry Christmas in Swedish:
God jul

Merry Christmas in Czech:
Veselé vánoce

Merry Christmas in Turkish:
Mutlu Noeller
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Difference between Merry Xmas and Happy Xmas