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.”
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 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.
Merry Christmas in German:
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Merry Christmas in Portuguese:
Merry Christmas in Japanese:
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Merry Christmas in Czech:
Difference between Merry Xmas and Happy Xmas