Here’s A Helpful Map Showing How To Say “Merry Christmas” In Over 40 European Languages
There are numerous different languages spoken in Europe and knowing a few basic phrases is always useful when traveling. And while learning phrases like “Hello” and “Where can I find the restroom” should most likely be on the top of your list, there’s another one you should know if you’re visiting Europe during the winter holidays – “Merry Christmas”.
To help save you the time on googling how to say the phrase in each of the many different European languages, Czech linguist Jakub Marian created a useful and informative map with all the information you could need. Check it out below!
This map shows how Europe says Merry Christmas
The colors Jakub used for his map weren’t chosen at random – all of them represent the etymological roots of the phrase. Red, for example, represents the Romance languages. They use a Latin-based word to describe the birth of Christ. The green color up North, however, base their “Merry Christmas” phrase on the Old Norse pagan festival called “jól”.
On his website, Jakub explains that he grouped the German, Czech and Slovak languages together because the latter two languages adopted the old German word for “holy night”. He also explains how even though Romanian and Hungarian languages are from different language families, the way they say “Merry Christmas” seems to originate from either Proto-Slavic or Latin.
The many European countries celebrate Christmas differently – in some, it’s not even over yet. Russian Orthodox Christians, for example, will only be celebrating the Nativity on January 7th due to the different ceremonial calendar they use.
Some former Soviet-controlled countries where Christmas celebration used to be banned, for example, had Christmas merged with New Year’s Eve.
Jakub even listed the phrases for you convenience:
Albanian: Gëzuar Krishtlindjet
Basque: Eguberri on
Belarusian: з Калядамі or з Божым Нараджэннем (z Kaljádami or z Bozym Naradžénnjem)
Breton: Nedeleg laouen
Bulgarian: Весела Коледа or Честито Рождество Христово (Vesela Koleda or Chestito Roždestvo Hristovo)
Catalan: Bon Nadal
Croatian: Sretan Božić
Czech: Veselé Vánoce
Danish God jul or Glædelig jul
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest
English: Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas
Estonian: Häid jõule
Finnish: Hyvää joulua
French: Joyeux Noël
Galician: Bo Nadal
German: Fröhliche Weihnachten or Frohe Weihnachten
Greek: Καλά Χριστούγεννα (Kalá Christoúgenna)
Hungarian: Boldog karácsonyt
Icelandic: Gleðileg jól
Irish: Nollaig Shona + Dhuit (singular) or Daoibh (plural)
Italian: Buon Natale
Latvian: Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus
Lithuanian: Linksmų Kalėdų
Luxembourgish: Schéine Chrëschtdag
Macedonian: Среќен Божиќ or Христос се роди (Sreḱen Božiḱ or Hristos se rodi)
Maltese: il-Milied it-Tajjeb
Norwegian: God jul
Northern Sami: Buorit juovllat
Romanian: Crăciun fericit
Occitan: Bon Nadal
Polish: Wesołych Świąt (Bożego Narodzenia)
Portuguese: Feliz Natal
Russian: с Рождеством (Христовым) (s Roždestvóm [Hristóvym])
Scottish Gaelic: Nollaig Chridheil
Serbian: Srećan Božić or Hristos se rodi
Sardinian: Bona Pasca de Nadale
Slovak: Veselé Vianoce
Slovene: Vesel božič
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God jul
Turkish: Mutlu Noeller
Ukrainian: з Різдвом (Христовим) (z Rizdvóm [Hrystóvym])
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
You can find more of Jakub’s books and map prints on his website.