Next, find out 24 more trivia facts you never knew about Christmas. the_wife. Although it was in use from the 16th century, it was Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol –published exactly 175 years ago – that really popularised it. Tweet. But as soon as Thanksgiving passes, you’re bound to start hearing and seeing it everywhere—on billboards, on decorations, in songs, and, of course, straight from the mouths of well-wishers. “Merry Christmas” is used in the U.S. while “Happy Christmas” is used in the U.K. We tend to think of Dickens as balding, bearded and avuncular, but when he wrote A Christmas Carol he was young, energetic and crusading – shown by a recently-unearthed portrait of the writer that was painted in 1843. The word “merry” isn’t one we use very often during the months of January through November. And after it, you’re almost certain to hear the word “Christmas.” (Or the words “little Christmas,” in the event of a certain holiday standard.) By the same token, ‘Bah! But then, in the 18th century, “merry” started to tip the scales, largely thanks to one man: Charles Dickens. Why Do We Say Merry Christmas? 7 4990 0 . Merry was also the word of choice for Dickens and in carols, so much so that the pull of merry grew stronger and it even changed the last line of “The Night Before Christmas”, which originally was “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.” Because this Victorian era Christmas traditions defined the way we celebrate Christmas, even today, we use ‘merry’ instead of ‘happy Christmas’. You may hear the phrase “Merry Christmas” around the world, including in England. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. Most people think this is the biggest way to differentiate between “merry” and “happy” is simply that. Although it was in use from the 16th century, it was Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol –published exactly 175 years ago – that really popularised it. At the time, Dickens was gravely concerned with the growing masses of poor, hungry and uneducated, particularly children. It stuck around, though, in phrases like “the more the merrier” and—you guessed it—the now increasingly popular “Merry Christmas.” How well do you know A Christmas Carol and its many adaptations? There's nothing at all wrong with Merry Christmas. However, it is more complex than that. Queen Elizabeth II is said to prefer "Happy Christmas" for this reason[3]. Likewise, say 'Happy Hanukkah' to a … Because people have turned into maniacal, politically-correct morons underpinning the need to whine, and complain about useless things. Now, of course, because of the popularity of “Merry Christmas”—and how little we say “merry” in other situations—”merry” now calls to mind a celebration that’s cozy, festive, and filled with gift-giving rather than one that’s overly revelrous and rowdy. Humbug!’ entered popular usage, and everyone knows what it means to be called … RD.COM Holidays & Observances Christmas. The lost portrait of Dickens, painted by Margaret Gillies during the very same weeks in which he wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. Favourite answer. sort like you were stuttering Plus, find out exactly why we celebrate Christmas on December 25. The "Merry Christmas vs. Today, we use ” merry” for Christmas the way we use “happy” for any other holiday, but the words themselves technically don’t have the exact same meaning. For book lovers who never get the time to read, audiobooks can make a great present. Answer Save. You typically don’t wish someone a “merry birthday” or a “merry new year.” But when it comes to the winter holiday, “ merry Christmas” is the standard Christmas greeting. It's Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Valentine's Day, Happy St. Paddy's Day, Happy Easter, etc. If someone responds, “Happy Holidays,” ask if the person celebrates Christmas? Merry Christmas! If that is true Christians are being persecuted every time they cannot force their religious beliefs on others and the minority should all apologize. Happy Holidays" debate has been a hot topic for a while now. The royal family adopted "Happy Christmas" as their preferred greeting, and others took note. And this is the most likely reason it would just sound…odd to use the word for any other holiday. Saying Merry Christmas isn't really all that bad to begin with. Pin. The phrase “Merry Christmas” was first used commercially in the first Christmas Card. Blithely do we use this phrase as greeting, farewell or exclamation of joy with little thought to the book that made it famous. because we say merry christmas and happy new year. It stuck around in common phrases like "the more, the merrier," as well as in things like Christmas carols and stories, largely due to the influence of Charles Dickens. 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Universal History Archive\UIG/Shutterstock, We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer), exactly why we celebrate Christmas on December 25, why Brits and Americans spell so many words differently, 24 more trivia facts you never knew about Christmas, The Subtle Difference You Didn’t Notice Between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s Photos, 20 Wacky Ways to Decorate Your Christmas Tree, Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. Personally, I have never used and I will never use “Xmas.” Why do we say MERRY Christmas instead of another word like "happy"? It is the religious connection with the birth of Christ. My family's all from Belgium & folks we know through business as well as pleasure all use the term 'Happy' when speaking of Christmas. What started as a dispute forged by religious preference became an argument of political malice. Why? Author: wfmynews2.com The first Christmas card on record was sent in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole and used the phrase “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” Why is it Merry Christmas and not Happy Christmas? 17 Shares. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. Given Dickens’s charitable leanings, the book was bizarrely extravagant in its first edition (which he funded himself), in ‘brown-salmon fine-ribbed cloth, blocked in blind and gold on front; in gold on the spine… all edges gilt’, costing 5s. However, almost everybody writes "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". Eleanor Doughty reports on The Star and Garter. But if you wished someone a “Merry Birthday,” or a “Merry Halloween,” you’d probably get some weird looks! Why Do We Say Merry Christmas? Even so, since 1943, it has never been out of print, it’s the most adapted of all Dickens’s works and still embodies the spirit of Christmas goodwill for many. Most people know “merry” means roughly the same thing as “happy.” Even so, “merry” is much less common. Why is Christmas the only holiday we hope will be “merry”? We've picked out five. History of the phrase "Merry," derived from the Old English myrige, originally meant merely "pleasant" rather than joyous or jolly (as in the phrase "merry month of May"). Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. In the Irish language it is said as Nollaig Shona Duit. would not sound right to say happy christmas and happy new year. Think of it this way: “Happy Holidays” includes Christmas as one of those holidays, and “Merry Christmas” leaves out everything other than Christmas. Those associations are being explored at the moment in a new exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum, London WC1, ‘Food Glorious Food: Dinner with Dickens’, which also looks at food with respect to how it represented the author’s sense of social justice,. This is why Brits and Americans spell so many words differently. “Merry Christmas” was the phrase of choice in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a work that would have a major influence on the modern English-speaking world’s perception of Christmas. God bless us, every one! 1. Many peopl… However, the resilience of the U.K. with this term actually has to do with some of the British upper class. One of Richmond's most recognisable landmarks has been converted into plush apartments. they tend not to write "Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year" because it repeats "Happy' which doesn't read as well. Published on December 19, 1843, with the first edition sold out by Christmas Eve, the didactic novella’s legacy further extends to an almost immediate rise in charitable giving, recorded in The Gentleman’s Magazine in 1844: for years afterwards, Maud of Wales, Queen of Norway, sent gifts to London’s crippled children signed ‘With Tiny Tim’s Love’. The reason that Non-Christians get offended is because Christians try to say that everyone should say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays or they are being persecuted. Our hope and joy are found in our Merciful Saviour. While both words have evolved and changed meaning over time (yes—people did once say "Happy Christmas"), people stopped using "merry" as its own individual word during the 18th and 19th centuries. 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. I have been places where people actually use the phrase Happy Christmas instead because of this connection. 8 Answers. As Christians, wishing others “Merry Christmas” can open the door to a spiritual conversation. While the list can go on and on about why we should say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays", here are five reasons why we should. What started as a dispute forged by religious preference … And before the 18th century, you could hear both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Christmas.” The most likely reason for this is the fact that, well, “merry” was just a far more popular word back then than it is today. Relevance. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we say 'Merry Christmas' when for every other occasion we use the word 'happy' instead'? Upon entering the house, visitors are invited to experience the exhibition as either a servant or a guest – see www.dickensmuseum.com for more details. We recommend our users to update the browser. From what I read I'm really glad some people, like myself, discovered that we are not alone and that this is a common feeling for many, I really enjoyed reading certain comments, and I'm happy for all the people who got better at it and now can do what they love without having this feeling on their shoulders. He is pictured below with the jovial Ghost of Christmas Present. It’s now on display at Philip Mould & Company until January 25, 2019 – see www.philipmould.com for details. The alternative "Happy Christmas" gained wide usage in the late 19th century, and is still common in the United Kingdom and Ireland. That’s why you’ll still hear it today in the U.K. How do they say merry christmas in ireland? Six months after the book’s publication, the Factories Act decreed that children between the ages of nine and 13 could work only nine hours a day, six days a week maximum, which was considered humane. (Furthermore, some do not like to say, “Merry Christmas,” so they say, “Happy Holidays,” not realizing that “holiday” is from the Old English word for “holy day.” If they do not like spiritual connotations, they had better not say “Happy Holidays” either!) Merry Christmas! Blithely do we use this phrase as greeting, farewell or exclamation of joy with little thought to the book that made it famous. The precise origin of merry Christmas is unclear. During the first Christmas radio address, King George V used the word happy instead of merry (you can actually listen to the original recording here, which is pretty cool). It’s, to begin with, recorded in 1534 when (an English Catholic Religious Bishop in the 1500s) composed it in a Christmas letter to Thomas Cromwell: “And this our Lord God send you a merry Christmas, and a comfortable, to your heart’s desire.” Sure it potentially could be subjective because what if you have a Jewish person walk into your store, and you say the wrong holiday. It had not been seen for 174 years. I think we just grow up saying whatever we're used to. At the time, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning remarked that, in it, the author had ‘the dust and mud of humanity about him, notwithstanding those eagle eyes’. The "Merry Christmas vs. We say both "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Christmas"; they are interchangeable. 1 decade ago. Share 17. Happy Holidays" debate has been a hot topic for a while now. December 22, 2014 She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. Why do people get offended when you say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays? But, because of the potentially rabble-rousing connotations of “Merry Christmas,” high-class Brits—including the royal family themselves—chose “Happy Christmas” as their default greeting. Most people specially non-British or English use the word Merry instead of Happy. Though Christmas has been celebrated since the 4th century AD, the … She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap. So the word Merry shifted from a verb to an adjective which over time allowed it to be used in the phrase “Merry Christmas”. i.e. Personally, 'Merry' reminds me of booze or Robin Hood. If you know someone is a Christian who is celebrating Christmas you should say to them 'Merry Christmas.' So this brings us to the Merry Christmas vs Happy Holiday debate that is not complicated and is solved with basic etiquette. When we wish people a “Merry Christmas,” let us remember that our hope and joy are not found in having a happy day or a Merry Christmas. In the 18th and 19thcentury when Christmas began to be more accepted in popular culture. Probably not, but now we've pointed it out the reason will bug you until you've read the answer. Humbug!’ entered popular usage, and everyone knows what it means to be called a Scrooge (even if they’ve never read the book) – a miserly grouch who believes that ‘Every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart’. Not in … The debate between the 2 phrases goes back several decades. While “happy” suggests a … by Day Translations - December 24, 2017. By the same token, ‘Bah! Today, we use ” merry” for Christmas the way we use “happy” for any other holiday, but the words themselves technically don’t have the exact same meaning. One reason may be the alternative meaning, still current there, of "merry" as "tipsy" or "drunk". It was gaining popularity in carols as well. In addition, the language was changing and “merry” was falling out of fashion as a word on its own. Why do we say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Christmas? If you live in an area with mostly Christians, or if you know someone has a Menorah and not a Christmas tree, you can generally feel safe with a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah.” While “happy” suggests a more general emotional state of joy, “merry” can imply that there’s a bit of raucous revelry afoot. Likewise if you wished someone a “Happy Christmas” (unless you live in England, where many people do say “Happy Christmas”). A Christmas Carol’s denouement – with Tim fetching a turkey from the butcher – is just one example of the pivotal role of food in Dickens’s stories. 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