Christmas 2021 is on its way, but celebrations won’t be the regular ones. We will still have to be careful: the pandemics is not over yet. Still, we will find the way to cherish our traditions and keep alive the feeling of togetherness and love.
Learn how to pronounce Merry Christmas in different languages
Say Buon Natale if you want to wish Merry Christmas to an Italian friend.
It is not easy to define which are the main Christmas traditions in the Bel Paese (beautiful country, as Dante and Petrarca used to call Italy), since every region has its own. Still, the Christmas tree, the Presepe (or Presepio), the Panettone and the Pandoro reign all over the peninsula.
Christmas dinner will be rich and sumptuous, following the best Italian traditions.
Joyeux Noël is Merry Christmas translated into French. Christmas celebration in Marcel Proust and Paul Cézanne's country can be different from region to region, but St. Nicholas (on December 6th) and Père Noël (on December 24th) behave the same way everywhere in France: they bring presents to all children. St. Nicholas actually delivers toys only to the well-behaved children, while his assistant, Père Fouettard, brings lumps of coal to the naughty ones.
In Spain Feliz Navidad means Merry Christmas. The festivity in the land of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and Antoni Gaudí is a huge celebration which reaches its peak during the Nochebuena, the Christmas Eve (literally, good night in Spanish). A sumptuous dinner will be served, usually at the grandparents’ house, where the whole family will be seated around a magnificent table setting.
Merry Christmas in Germany is Fröhliche Weihnachten. Christmas is really a big event in Germany: just consider that the Christmas tree fashion started right here, centuries ago: the first decorated tree appeared in 1750.
All started because of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer who once visited Strasbourg, in France, where the first Christmas tree appeared in the early 17th century. He saw his first Christmas tree, and he wrote about it in his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. Suddenly, everybody in German was decorating a Christmas tree and spreading this new fashion all over the world.
Merry Christmas in Portugal is Feliz Natal. In Portugal, Christmas is the most important celebration of the year. On Christmas Eve a traditional dinner will be cooked and served to the family and the menu will be based on cod, potatoes, and vegetables.
Once dinner is over, during the night, the spirits of the dead will come to visit and enjoy the food leftovers.
Merry Christmas in Brazil is Feliz Natal. It is written as you write it in Portugal, but the pronunciation is different. In the land of Paulo Coelho and Jorge Amado, Christmas happens to be in summer and, due to the heat of the season, the traditional Christmas dishes have become lighter and more suitable to the hot climate. The Christmas tree, though, is still the festivity focal point.
In 2014, in Rio de Janeiro the largest floating Christmas tree in the world was set, with its millions of lights. Tourists came from all over the world to see the gigantic Christmas tree which earned the Guinness World Record in its category.
Merry Christmas in Poland is Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia. In this country, where the poet Wisława Szymborska wrote her most touching poems, the children stare at the sky during Christmas Eve. As soon as they spot the first twinkle of a star, they all go to sit around the table: dinner starts.
Before enjoying the meal, the whole family share a piece of the traditional Opłatek: a light wafer on which the nativity scene is depicted. It as a symbol of love and friendship. An opłatek piece is served also to the house pets.
Merry Christmas in the Czech Republic is Veselé Vánoce. Here the big event is Christmas Eve dinner with the traditional breaded carp and potatoes. It is a must to keep a carp scale as a lucky charm for the oncoming year.
In Romania, Merry Christmas is Craciun Fericit. In Romania the Christmas spirit is kept alive by the colinde, the traditional Romanian Christmas carols. On Christmas Eve, children will sing while walking from house to house, and they will receive fruits, nuts, and slices of colaci (typical Christmas sweet bread) in return.
Merry Christmas in Slovakia is Veselé Vianoce. The traditional celebrations of Christmas want some dishes, known to bring good fortune, to be eaten on Christmas Eve, such as waffles with honey, which will preserve love and harmony in the family. Speaking about money, tucking some coins under the tablecloth will bring wealth and prosperity.
Merry Christmas is Hungarian is Kellemes Karácsonyt. According to the Hungarian tradition, the Christmas tree must be decorated on Christmas Eve by the parents, while the children will stay in their room waiting for Baby Jesus to deliver the presents.
In Greece Merry Christmas is Kala Christouyenna. In this beautiful and sunny country, between Christmas and Epiphany, kallikantzaros are believed to appear during the nights. They are hideous creatures which live underground for the rest of the year and come alive only during the Christmas season. They are supposed to tease and annoy everybody.
In Sweden Merry Christmas is God Jul, as in others Scandinavian countries. Here, the Christmas season starts celebrating Saint Lucia, on December 13. Saint Lucia brings presents to the children, and she is also the patron saint of the blind, since she lost her sight defending her faith.
In Finland, Merry Christmas is Hyvää Joulua. In this freezing country, Christmas Eve has it all: Christmas trees, light decorations, good food… and saunas. What a nice idea to celebrate the most stressing celebration of the year relaxing in a warm sauna!