Wait. We do say both, but Happy Christmas tends to predominate. (Another example would be “Fall” instead of “Autumn.”)  Americans went through Prohibition but still used “Merry,” whereas Australians–who make merry quite a bit in the 16th century sense–still use “Happy Christmas.”. Saying 'Merry Christmas' rather than 'Happy Christmas' seems to go back several hundred years. If … Merry Christmas Vs Happy Christmas. Is Santa Claus Real? Happy Christmas December 20, 2013 Gene Veith. You need to look this up on Wikipedia. However, the resilience of the U.K. with this term actually has to do with some of the British upper class. Christmas was a regular day of work and an opportunity to remember God. This is because “Happy Christmas” is still a widely used phrase in many places—particularly in England. They have the same meaning, are similar phrases. I Spot Santa April 24, 2019 Christmas Facts Leave a Comment. Yes, I want the Patheos Evangelical Newsletter as well, Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics. Merry Christmas vs. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Have a great solstice whatever. Makes you sick, doesn’t it? The Night Before Christmas (Clement C. Moore’s, I mean, not Nikolai Gogol’s) ends with the words, “A Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.” Queen Elizabeth II wishes British subjects a “Happy Christmas” in her annual Christmas broadcasts, and the phrase enjoys a broad general currency the U.K. What accounts for the difference? Merry Christmas is frequently used by the American people while Happy Christmas is commonly used by the British. Main Points About Merry Christmas vs Happy Christmas. This is believed to be because "happy" took on a higher class connotation than "merry," which was associated with the rowdiness of the lower classes. “Merry Christmas” stirs in us an impulse more primitive and unrestrained: The childlike giddiness of Christmas morning, the rush down the stairs and tearing at paper, the intemperate delight in gifts long hoped-for and wholly undeserved. 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.” Persecution: The New Reality for Biblical... Trump Turns the Country Over to the Democrats, The Cranach Reader Who Predicted COVID-19. Should we greet each other with vague holiday cheer or specific Christmas-related well wishes? Many people wanted to bring the holiday back to its former glory. Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter. Also, if “merry” connotes intoxication, why isn’t there a tradition of saying “Merry New Year!”  It is interesting that the secularist levellers say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Holidays.”  I propose that we say “merry” in those contexts, just to throw people off. Both happy and merryare terms used to describe a joyous and pleasureful situation. Does anyone say "Happy Christmas"?. “Merry Christmas” is used in the U.S. while “Happy Christmas” is used in the U.K. Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays. Why do we say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Christmas? “Merry” appeared in both the Wyclife and King James bibles in reference to intoxication, where it describes an evening in the life of the rich man Nabal: “He held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken.” (To wish someone a holiday feast like Nabal’s was to wish him a very good Christmas indeed.). This is a great post, but let me pose another possibility. If you know someone celebrates Christmas you can go with “Merry Christmas,” but ‘tis the season for interacting with strangers (selling to them, buying from them, bumping into them on your way out of Target). You are confusing England with the UK. Queen Elizabeth, a woman of serious low-church piety, is said to prefer “happy” to “merry” because she dislikes “merry’s” connotation of boisterousness, even slight intoxication. I think you will find that “Happy Christmas” is what they say in England and much of its  Commonwealth, whereas “Merry Christmas” is what we say in America. Patheos has the views of the prevalent religions and spiritualities of the world. Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which, in Western Christian Churches, is held annually on 25 December.For centuries, it has been the subject of several reformations, both religious and secular. Before this, the term “Happy Christmas” was more common. Then of course did this new phrase “Merry Christmas.”, It was in 1843 when the term was used in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In fact, Christmas was illegal and the puritans in England and America panned the holiday. Your email address will not be published. IMPORTANT: We are dedicated to spreading the spirit and joy of Christmas everyday of the year. Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas, why do we say Merry instead of Happy? There is no denying that these two terms are quite similar, and almost identical in nature. This is also the same year that the first ever commercial Christmas card was printed and sold. Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. Find out the truth here! © I Spot Santa™ 2009-2019, Murena Entertainment LLC™, NP Newsroom, Denali Park: The Puffy Jacket, Official Letter To Santa Claus (Printable), Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Christmas Recipes: Cookies and Breads, Santa Facts – Magical Powers and Revelations, 5 Santa Sightings That Will Make You Believe, The BEST Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies Recipe. Well of course, it’s all down to “political correctness”. 0 . While merry depicts an active behavior of boisterous gaiety, mostly raucous. After a period of time where Christmas celebrations were outlawed by the Puritans. Required fields are marked *. By M. Smith. Never do this - it's one of the quickest and easiest ways to irritate a Brit. Whether it’s “merry Christmas” or “happy holidays,” they say the same thing: I hope you have a happy, healthy holiday season. Every year, around this time, the same debate comes to light. 0. Matthew Schmitz explains the difference between “merry Christmas” and “happy Christmas” and why the former is a more fitting greeting. The perennial debate gets a new coat of cheer from Donald Trump. Many of which are still used in modern Christmas celebrations today. It could also be due to Charles Dickens book A Christmas Carol. This moral suspicion of “Merry Christmas” dates back to the Methodist churchmen of the Victorian era who sought to promote sobriety among the English working class. Frequently in Merry Christmas! All visitors must be smiling and spreading that cheer also. Happy describes inner emotional conditions too deep to demonstrate. Walk down a festive, holly-trimmed street in December, and chances are you will be greeted with a hearty “Merry Christmas.” Here in the United States, this is the average greeting during the holiday season. According to Why Christmas. Yet “Merry Christmas” did not gain universal support. In the 18th and 19th century when Christmas began to be more accepted in popular culture. A 9-year-old viewer asked us to find out why we say Merry Christmas and not Happy Christmas. For starters, it's important to note that "Happy Christmas" hasn't faded completely—it's still widely used in England. By looking at historic literary works, you will see how far back this greeting can be traced. In the U.K. you will find Queen Elizabeth’s II’s annual Christmas address concluding with a “Happy Christmas” to all. Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter and special offers. ‘Happy Holidays’ Is Pro-Christmas ... I’ll say, “Merry Christmas.” The other person will respond, “Happy holidays.” Tranquility turns to tension. Trump, Obama and the War on Christmas A look at how the phrases "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" were used under President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. European Santa Tracker – Pictures and Videos. Your email address will not be published. False Right-wing Political Appeal to Ancient Christian Heretic... False Right-wing Political Appeal to the Ancient Christian Heretic Pelagius All too... There’s a message that kills and a message that gives life. Get updates from Cranach delivered straight to your inbox. Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas: The Last Thing That Ever Needs To Be Said About It 12/04/2013 04:00 pm ET Updated Feb 03, 2014 Every year at the beginning of December some Americans engage in a ridiculous rhetorical ritual that recycles righteous arguments about whether people should say to one another Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. However, it is more complex than that. Ilana Mermelstein can be reached at imerm@umich.edu . Most people think this is the biggest way to differentiate between “merry” and “happy” is simply that. We asked an English Professor at High Point University to explain. Did you know the first Christmas Card, sent in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, had this wording on it: “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You”. In general, “Happy Holidays” is accepted as the broadest and most inclusive greeting at this time of year. Simply put, those in England didn’t feel the need to adapt to this new American “slang.”. Anonymous: If you know the other person celebrates Christmas, "Merry Christmas". Once you look deeper at their origins and definitions you will see a few key differences. Happy Holidays, Round 2,016. The greetings and farewells "merry Christmas" and "happy Christmas" are traditionally used in English-speaking countries, starting a few weeks before December 25 each year. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Christmas » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog. It contained the now household phrase “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”. Not one to celebrate with feasts and celebrations. If you found this article interesting, you’ll found “Why Christmas is on December 25th” interesting too, the reason surprised us. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown challenges at all of us — including The Michigan Daily — but that hasn’t stopped our staff. I want to defend the Christ whose birth I celebrate. The same cultural impact wasn’t happening across the pond. The phrases Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays do have some differences. How to Use “Merry Christmas” “Merry Christmas” is a traditional greeting used to express good tidings during the holiday season. While each of these phrases have a unique history—they both share the same sentiment. When one is speaking of a happy or merry Christmas, the adjectives are lowercase. Why Americans Say Happy Holidays Vs Merry Christmas. Please also opt me in for Exclusive Offers from Patheos’s Partners, Swiss will vote on a guaranteed national income. Suffice it to say that when our Lord comes I hope I do not greet him with dignified reserve but instead rush at him with the unguarded, unembarrassed joy of a child at play or man at his cups. The phrase “Merry Christmas” would hang on, but the image of a family sharing a bottle of port or wine in the first commercial Christmas card was to give way to more temperate holiday depictions. You may be surprised to find that while many people think of “Merry Christmas” as the more modern of the two phrases. WHY?? Technically, retailers can say merry christmas, happy hanukkah, happy kwanzaa, etc, but it's just easier to say happy … When living in America during the December holiday season you may have noticed a little more than just Christmas trees, Santa hats, and other festive decorations. Both are about enjoying Christmas…the only difference lies in the beginning adjectives. Andrew McGill December 20, 2016. I want to advocate for the God whose name is being blighted and whose glory is being shoved as far from public circles as possible. Many people started greetings with “Merry” instead of “Happy”—some members of the British upper class thought that the word merry had vulgar connotations. They felt it was a term better associated with activities in the pub not celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. The term appears in 1534 in a Christmas letter between the Catholic Bishop John Fisher and Thomas Cromwell. Take a similar stroll down the streets of London and you may hear friendly voices wishing you a “Happy Christmas” instead. Back to the Middle Ages, when Christmas was truly a holiday that could be described as “merry.” Back then, Christmas included 12 days of feasting, entertainment, singing and celebrating—it was a merry Christmas back then indeed. And rightfully so. Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas. Especially as the term “merry” continued to become a more common phrase in common English American language. But, have you ever wondered why we in the U.S. tend to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Christmas”? Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! His popular story helped usher in new Victorian Christmas stories, myths and traditions. You can look at literary references to see how far back the term “Merry Christmas” is used. Matthew Schmitz,  It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Christmas » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog: Christmas is conspicuously the only time of year when the word “merry” receives heavy use. Otherwise Happy Holidays. How no-one dares to say “Happy CHRISTMAS” in public anymore? Still, Mr. Schmitz makes a good overall point in his post and I like his explanation better than mine. In the 18th century, when merry was first developed, it was actually a euphemism for being intoxicated. The phrase "Merry Christmas" refers to a specific Christian holiday, while "Happy holidays" covers the winter holidays from a variety of traditions. (Similarly, in Holland some of the more strictly reformed Dutch prefer Zalig Kerstfeest—“Blessed Christmas”—to Vrolijk Kerstmis—“Merry Christmas.”). and other seasonal greetings.” The dictionary says “happy” is used similarly “in expressions of good wishes for a person or persons on a celebratory occasion, event, day, etc., as happy birthday, happy Christmas, happy New Year, etc.” However, merry tends to be more of a celebration. Some people need to be reminded that the U.S. is not a Christian country. In Culture Exchange. However, you can also see just as many literary references to the phrase “Happy Christmas.” Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, ends with “A Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”. Here is a look at where these two terms come from and what they mean. Patheos Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! What started as a dispute forged by religious preference became an argument of political malice. It's first recorded in 1534 when John Fisher (an English Catholic Bishop in the 1500s) wrote it in a Christmas letter to Thomas Cromwell: "And this our Lord God send you a mery Christmas… The "Merry Christmas vs. The same goes for when you turn on your favorite Christmas tunes: We Wish You a Merry Christmas or John Lennon‘s Happy Christmas (War is Over). They are both wonderful greetings to those you see around the Christmas holiday. Or should we say Happy Holidays? Merry Christmas and Happy Christmas are both greetings used during the last part of December, around Christmastime.The first word of each is only capitalized when used as a greeting. However, in the 17th century, it didn’t mean this was a phrase that was being used as regularly as it is today. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy Christmas -- the season of goodwill and peace carries loaded greetings. 12/25/2020 01:35 Subject: Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays! However, things began to change, and the holiday began to become more popular in everyday culture. After all, we say, “Happy Birthday” and “Happy New Year” but why do we say “Merry Christmas”? Happy Holidays" debate has been a hot topic for a while now. However, Happy Holidays include all festivals, whether they are religious or not. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, pushed it forward, as did industrialization: The first commercially sold Christmas card (also printed in 1843) contained the salutation “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You,” which depicted a prosperous family framed by images of people feeding and clothing poor people. People associated being happy with being polite and quietly content and merry with dancing, drinking, feasting and celebrating. I don’t know about you, but I want to stand up for this Christmas season I love. Variations include “happy Christmas” and “merry Xmas” (where the “X” stands in for “Christ”). Merrymaking of the ancient, alcoholic sort was frowned on year-round, perhaps never more so than during the celebration of the Savior’s birth. The debate between the 2 phrases goes back several decades. Variations are: "Merry Christmas", the traditional English greeting, composed of merry (jolly, happy) and Christmas (Old English: Cristes mæsse, for Christ's Mass). They are generally used interchangeably but let’s take a closer look. The greeting “Merry Christmas” has a pretty long history. Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays What do you say? They have the same meaning, are similar phrases. It's a controversy that everyone has an opinion on. "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays": A Summary of U.S. Holiday Greetings. If you are anything like me, your social media feed has been full of debate relating to the use of “Merry Christmas” this holiday season. Merry Christmas to all! Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters. Merry Christmas everyone! Merry Christmas is a greeting that is used when specifying Christmas, so if one wishes someone Merry Christmas, they are only wishing them to have a happy Christmas. Both happy and merry are terms used to describe a joyous and pleasureful situation. Traditionally, the term happy means to be pleased, co… It made sense why the term merry began to be associated with Christmas so often during the 18th century. See what he says after the jump, along with what I say. I think the issue is when major retailers say Merry Christmas, it kind of assumes that everyone celebrates Christmas. The greeting “Merry Christmas” dates back to at least 1565, in which year the author of the Hereford Municipal Manuscript wrote “And thus I comytt you to god, who send you a mery Christmas & many.” Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, pushed it forward, as did industrialization: The first commercially sold Christmas card (also printed in 1843) contained the salutation “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”. Discover... Clean Up the Temple of Our Democracy and... Rioters desecrated the temple of American Democracy on January 6. Traditionally, the term happy means to be pleased, content and satisfied. They are generally used interchangeably but let’s take a closer look. However, today, rules on “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Christmas” aren’t so strict. It includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and even New Years. Merry Christmas vs. So, influencers of the time looked back to the history of the Christmas holiday. Both are about enjoying Christmas…the only difference lies in the beginning adjectives. There is no denying that these two terms are quite similar, and almost identical in nature. I don't care what you wish me. So Merry and Happy Christmas to you and your love ones! I suspect this is an example of American English preserving older expressions that were current when the colonies were settled but that have since dropped out of British English. We may no longer associate “merry” with spirits alcoholic as well as high, but the meaning was once familiar. To certain ears, then, “Happy Christmas” conveys a sober, well-earned enjoyment, the satisfaction resulting from hard work and virtuous living. Merry Christmas refers, specifically, to the Christmas holiday, celebrated December 25th. Then again in 1565 in a document called the Hereford Municipal Manuscript. Which phrase conveys a more fitting response to the overwhelming, unearned, gift of Christ’s birth? President Trump is clear which season's greeting he thinks should be used - but do Americans care? Posted November 24, 2016. You may hear the phrase “Merry Christmas” around the world, including in England. For example, you might say: Have a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year! Yet, it isn’t like that everywhere else in the world. Charles Dickens was also thought to be a major influencer behind the popularity of this term. As well, Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics whose birth I celebrate up for this Christmas I! One is speaking of a Happy New Year. ” are generally used interchangeably but let me pose another possibility predominate... Come from and what they mean greeting “ Merry Christmas is commonly used by the in... Thomas Cromwell than 'Happy Christmas ' seems to go back several hundred years Mermelstein can be.... Controversy that everyone celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and even New years Spot Santa April,! 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