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Seasonal Words Heard During the Holidays

December 19, 2018

It's that time of year again. In addition to wishing our readers a safe and happy holiday, we thought it would be appropriate to look at the rich and varied vocabulary used during this fantastic time of year. Our "Holiday Season" has evolved from cultural influences observed around the world. Universal kindness during the holidays goes from one person to another, therefore you can never know the amount of good your words can bring.

As the New Year approaches, here are some wintry words you can use to describe festive events and happenings during this holiday season:

  • ADVENT - A Latin word meaning “coming;” the Christian season of expectant waiting and preparation beginning four Sundays before Christmas. 1
  • BLITHE YULE - Merry Christmas in Scotland.3
  • BOUN - To bourn is to decorate something with evergreen branches during the Christmas season.2
  • BUON NATALE - Merry Christmas in Italian.3
  • BOXING DAY - A British holiday celebrated the day after Christmas; traditionally when servants and tradespeople were given a “Christmas Box” by employers. 1
  • CHAG MOLAD SAMEACH - Happy Festival of the Birth in Israel (Hebrew).3
  • CHRISTMAS - A religious and cultural festival celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth that is typically observed on December 25th. 1
  • CHRISTMAS MUBARAK - Merry Christmas in Afganistan (Dari).3
  • CRAWMASSING - Gathering up or going through the remnants of a Christmas meal.2
  • EID MILAD MAJID - "Glorious Birth Feast" in Arabic.3
  • EPIPHANY - A Christian feast day celebrated on January 6th, commemorating the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus. 1
  • FELIZ NATAL - Merry Christmas in Portuguese.3
  • FELIZ NAVIDAD - A Spanish phrase meaning “Happy Christmas.”1
  • FROHE WEIHNACHTEN - Merry Christmas in German.3
  • GAWBY-MARKET - An 18th Century word for a "street fair" or market held on the first day trading following Christmas. 2
  • GOD JUL - Merry Christmas in Swedish.3
  • HANUKKAH - The eight-day “festival of lights” commemorating the rededication of the Jewish temple around 200 B.C. The holiday is celebrated by lighting candles, eating fried foods, playing games, and giving gifts. 1
  • JOYEUX NOËL - Merry Christmas in French.3
  • KALA CHRISTOUYENNA - Merry Christmas in Greek.3
  • KINARA - A candleholder for the seven candles lit during Kwanzaa. 1
  • KWANZAA - A seven-day festival celebrating African American cultural heritage, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. Festivities include candle lighting, singing, storytelling, poetry reading, and feasting. 1
  • MAGI - The Zoroastrian priests of ancient Persia. According to tradition, three of these “wise men” visited the infant Jesus. 1
  • MELE KALIKIMAKA - Merry Christmas in Hawaiian.3
  • MELIKAM GENA! - Merry Christmas in Ethiopia.3
  • MENORAH - A nine-branched candelabrum used during Hanukkah. 1
  • MERI KIRIHIMETE - Merry Christmas in New Zealand.3
  • MERI KURISUMASU - Merry Christmas in Japan.3
  • MUTLU NOELLER - Merry Christmas in Turkish.3
  • NADOLIG LLAWEN - Merry Christmas in Welsh.3
  • NOEL - “The Christmas season”; derived from Old French. 1
  • NOLLAIG SHONA DHUIT - Merry Christmas in Ireland (Gaelic).3
  • SANTA CLAUS - A mythical, white-bearded man clad in red who delivers presents to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve; based on legends of the historic Saint Nicholas’s generosity. 1
  • SHENG DAN KAUAI LE - Merry Christmas in China (Mandarin).3
  • SHUBHO BÔ?ODIN - Merry Christmas in India and Bangladesh (Bengali).3
  • SUK SARN WARN CHRISTMAS - Merry Christmas in Thailand.3
  • VROLIJK KERSTFEEST - Merry Christmas in Belgium (Dutch/Flemish).3
  • WINTER SOLSTICE - The first day of winter and shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). 1
  • YULE - A pagan festival celebrating rebirth and renewal, held on the winter solstice. 1
  • YULESTARN - A noticeably bright star in the sky on Christmas night.2
  • ZALIG KERSTFEEST - Merry Christmas in Holland (Dutch).3




1GRAMMARLY BLOG, 50 Awesome Holiday Words to Know This December by Joanna Cutrara, Dec. 20, 2017.

2INDEPENDENT Online, 11 Christmas Words That The English Language Has Forgotten by Paul Anthony Jones, Dec. 24, 2015.

3WHYCHRISTMAS.COM, Merry Christmas In Different Languages by James Cooper, Proud Affiliate of the Merry Network.

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