Merry Christmas in Different Languages

Find out how to say Merry Christmas in different languages. Or, if the recipient of your greeting doesn’t celebrate any December holidays, you can find out how to say hello in other languages instead.


Christmas is celebrated across the world. 


It is celebrated predominantly by Christians, but this holiday also has a secular sister that’s celebrated by even those who don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus.


No matter where you are in the world (or what language you speak), you can say, “Merry Christmas, happy holidays, happy Hanukkah, or happy Kwanzaa. 

Where is Christmas celebrated?

Christmas is truly celebrated all over the world — though, the holiday may not look the same in different countries. 


160 countries celebrate Christmas. Americans celebrate Christmas on December 25 (as do citizens of other countries), the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6, Coptic Christmas and Orthodox Christmas are on January 7. 


Christmas is not celebrated in the following countries:


Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (except Hong Kong and Macau), Comoros, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, the Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, the Sahrawi Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Taiwan (Republic of China), Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.


Of course, there are always exceptions. Many foreigners in the above countries still celebrate Christmas, but the holiday isn’t an official holiday recognized by the government.


Christmas is celebrated in Japan — not really as a religious holiday but as a secular holiday — replete with gift exchanges and Christmas trees.

Inclusive Holiday Greetings

There are many instances when saying, “Merry Christmas,” might not be appropriate. In diverse countries (especially ones where the majority of residents celebrate Christmas), assuming everyone celebrates is offensive.


Even though many who celebrate Christmas do so secularly (and are not Christian), assuming everyone celebrates the holiday isn’t the best way to wish everyone a happy holiday.


If you want to be inclusive, you can always say, “Happy holidays!” Or, you can wish someone a joyful greeting tailored to their own celebrations and traditions. 


While Kwanzaa and Hannukah should never be considered “African-American” or “Jewish” Christmas (these holidays have their own cultural and religious meanings, separate from Christmas; yet, they also happen to take place in the month of December), if it’s one of the eight days of Hannukah or the seven days of Kwanzaa and the recipient of your greeting celebrates, it’s totally appropriate to wish someone a happy Hannukay or happy Kwanzaa.


Just make sure you know the person celebrates the holiday in your greeting. Don’t assume that every African-American celebrates Kwanzaa, and don’t assume everyone from Isreal or a Jewish background celebrates Hannukah. 


When in doubt, simply wish someone a happy holiday, or use a common phrase in another language and forget about the holiday season altogether in your greeting. 


Want to learn how to say want to say Merry Christmas in different languages not listed below — or holiday greetings other than Merry Christmas?


Download Vocre’s translation app. Our app uses voice-to-text and can be used with or without internet access. Simply download the digital dictionary and learn how to say common phrases, words, and sentences in other languages. 


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Merry Christmas in Different Languages

Ready to learn how to say Merry Christmas in different languages? Learn how to say Merry Christmas in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and other common languages. 

Merry Christmas in Spanish

Most English speakers know how to say Merry Christmas in Spanish — probably thanks to the popular holiday song, “Feliz Navidad.”


In Spanish, Feliz means happy and Navidad means Christmas. It’s a simply one-for-one translation from Spanish to English and a common Spanish phrase


Christmas is widely celebrated throughout Latin America, including Mexico (more than 70% of Mexicans are Catholic), Central America, and South America. Spain also hosts many Christmas celebrations, including Epiphany on January 6. 


Merry Christmas in French

If you want to say Merry Christmas in French, you would simply say, “Joyeux Noël.” Unlike Spanish, this is not a word-for-word translation from French to English.


Joyeux means joy and Noël means noel. The Latin meaning of Natalis (which Noël stems from), means birthday. So, Joyeux Noël simply means joyful birthday, as Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ. 

Merry Christmas in Italian

If you want to say Merry Christmas in Italian, you would say, “Buon Natale.” Buon means good and Natale, similar to Noël in French, stems from the Latin word Natalis. 


Experts say that the first Christmas was celebrated in Italy in Rome. So, if you’re celebrating Christmas in this fair country, you are paying homage to the history of the holiday!

Merry Christmas in Japanese

We already know that many Japanese celebrate a secular version of Christmas (similar to how Americans celebrate). If you’re in Japan at Christmastime, you can say, “Merīkurisumasu.” Merī means Merry and kurisumasu means Christmas. 

Merry Christmas in Armenian

Depending on whether you belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church (one of the oldest Christian religions) or not, you may either celebrate Christmas on December 25 or January 6.


If you want to say Merry Christmas in Armenian, you would say, “Shnorhavor Amanor yev Surb Tznund.” This translates to congratulations for the holy birth. 

Merry Christmas in German

Another country that’s known for its extravagant Christmas celebrations is Germany. Thousands of people flock to this country to visit its whimsical Christmas markets for one-of-a-kind gifts, caroling, and hot alcoholic beverages.


If you want to say Merry Christmas in German, you would say, “Frohe Weihnachten.” Frohe means merry and Weihnachten means Christmas — another word-for-word translation!

Merry Christmas in Hawaiian 

The U.S. is so diverse, it makes sense that you might need to learn how to say Merry Christmas in different languages if you want to wish your neighbors a joyful holiday.


One of the states where you may want to wish someone a Merry Christmas in another language is Hawaii. Less than 0.1% of the Hawaiian population speaks Hawaiian, but this greeting is pretty well-known throughout the island — as well as the rest of the U.S.


If you want to say Merry Christmas in Hawaiian, you’d say, “Mele Kalikimaka.” 

American English Vs British English

Learning English is hard enough on its own. When you take into account the fact that English words vary heavily between countries, regions, states, and cities, and learning nuanced words in English can feel downright impossible sometimes.


British words differ in meaning and context from American words. Discover the difference between American English vs. British English — and why these differences exist in the first place. 

American English Vs British English: A History

Like many other countries previously under British rule, America adopted English as its primary language. Yet While American English and British English share most of the same words, sentence structure, and grammar rules, the English most Americans speak today doesn’t sound like British English.


In 1776 (when America declared its independence over Britain), there were no standardized English dictionaries. (Though Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language had been published in 1755). 


The first English dictionary was published in 1604 (nearly two centuries after Columbus first traveled to North American). Unlike most English dictionaries, Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall wasn’t published as a resource list of all English words. Instead, its purpose was to explain ‘hard’ words to readers that might not understand their meanings.

Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary was called for by the Philological Society of London in 1857. It was published between the years 1884 and 1928; supplements were added throughout the next century, and the dictionary was digitized in the 1990s.


While the OED standardized the spelling and definitions of words, it didn’t make major changes to their spelling. 

Noah Webster Dictionary

Noah Webster’s first dictionary was published in 1806. This was the first American dictionary, and it distinguished itself from British dictionaries by changing the spelling of some words.


Webster believed that American English should create its own spelling of words — words that Webster himself believed to be inconsistent in their spelling. He created a new spelling of words that he considered to be more aesthetically pleasing and logical. 


Major spelling changes included:


  • Dropping the U in some words like colour
  • Abandoning the second silent L in words like travelling
  • Changing the CE in words to SE, like defence 
  • Dropping the K in words like musick
  • Dropping the U in words like analogue
  • Changing the S in words like socialise to Z


Webster also learned 26 languages that are considered the basis for English (including Sanskrit and Anglo Saxon). 

American English Vs. British English Spelling Differences

The differences between American spelling and British spelling that were initiated by Noah Webster remain intact to this day. Americans generally do not spell words like color with a U or words such as music with the K at the end.


We also drop the second silent L in words like traveling and spell defense and offense with an SE instead of CE. 


British English essentially uses the spelling of words from the language they were adopted. These words, called loanwords, make up nearly 80% of the English language!


Languages English has ‘borrowed’ words from include:


  • Afrikaans
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German 
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin 
  • Malay
  • Maori
  • Norwegian
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Scandinavian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Yiddish


American English Vs. British English Pronunciation Differences

The main differences between the ways Americans pronounce words and the way Brits say them are pretty obvious to even an untrained ear. Yet, there is a specialized, standardized difference in the pronunciation of English words. 


To make matters more confusing, United States citizens don’t have just one type of accent — and there are also variations on British accents, depending on where you live in the United Kingdom. 

Pronunciation of the Letter A

One of the most common differences in pronunciation between American and British English is the letter A. The British usually pronounce As as “ah” whereas Americans pronounce As stronger; As sound more like the ones in the word ack than abhor.

Pronunciation of the Letter R 

The British also don’t always pronounce the letter R when it’s preceded by a vowel, such as in the words park or horse. (Though, depending on where you’re from in the U.S., you might not pronounce Rs either. In some parts of Massachusetts residents drop their Rs, too). 

Grammar Differences

American and British English don’t just differ in spelling and pronunciation. There are also grammatical differences between the two, also. 

One of the main differences is that Brits use the present perfect tense more than Americans do. An example of present perfect tense would be, “Tom can’t find his shoes anywhere; he’s given up on finding them.”


Singular verbs always follow collective nouns in American English. For example, Americans would say, “The herd is migrating north,” while Brits say, “the herd are migrating north.”

Vocabulary Differences

Vocabulary can vary within different states, cities, and regions in one country alone. So, it’s no surprise that American vocab is very different from vocab words used across the pond. Some of the most common words that Brits use differently than Americans include:


  • Chips (French fries)
  • Bank holiday (federal holiday)
  • Jumper (sweater)
  • Current account (checking account)
  • Dust bin (garbage can)
  • Flat (apartment)
  • Postcode (zipcode)
  • Skimmed milk (skim milk)
  • Biscuit (cracker)

Other Common English Language Differentiantions 

So which form of English is correct? While there is a noticeable difference between varieties of English (especially between the English spoken in the U.K. and the U.S.), there is no one right or wrong way to pronounce these words. 


Because world-famous TV shows are filmed in the U.S., many people that learn English as a second language learn American English. Yet because the British empire colonized so much of the world, teachers speak British English. 


Other areas of the world where English spelling, vocab, and grammar differ include Canada and Australia. 


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