But then, in the 18th century, “merry” started to tip the scales, largely thanks to one man: Charles Dickens. 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). 1. He is pictured below with the jovial Ghost of Christmas Present. The "Merry Christmas vs. The first written record of someone using “Merry Christmas” comes from a 1534 letter from a bishop to royal minister Thomas Cromwell. 8 Answers. 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. By the same token, ‘Bah! It’s now on display at Philip Mould & Company until January 25, 2019 – see www.philipmould.com for details. Humbug!’ entered popular usage, and everyone knows what it means to be called … Tweet. This is why Brits and Americans spell so many words differently. the_wife. 7 4990 0 . 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. Likewise if you wished someone a “Happy Christmas” (unless you live in England, where many people do say “Happy Christmas”). Why do people get offended when you say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays? If you know someone is a Christian who is celebrating Christmas you should say to them 'Merry Christmas.' 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"). Most people specially non-British or English use the word Merry instead of Happy. Blithely do we use this phrase as greeting, farewell or exclamation of joy with little thought to the book that made it famous. 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. While “happy” suggests a more general emotional state of joy, “merry” can imply that there’s a bit of raucous revelry afoot. At the time, Dickens was gravely concerned with the growing masses of poor, hungry and uneducated, particularly children. So the word Merry shifted from a verb to an adjective which over time allowed it to be used in the phrase “Merry Christmas”. If someone responds, “Happy Holidays,” ask if the person celebrates Christmas? Saying Merry Christmas isn't really all that bad to begin with. RD.COM Holidays & Observances 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. While “happy” suggests a … Though Christmas has been celebrated since the 4th century AD, the … It's Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Valentine's Day, Happy St. Paddy's Day, Happy Easter, etc. There's nothing at all wrong with Merry Christmas. However, the resilience of the U.K. with this term actually has to do with some of the British upper class. Favourite answer. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. What started as a dispute forged by religious preference became an argument of political malice. I think we just grow up saying whatever we're used to. One reason may be the alternative meaning, still current there, of "merry" as "tipsy" or "drunk". We say both "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Christmas"; they are interchangeable. Out of courtesy towards all other beliefs, we just say Happy Holidays instead. Queen Elizabeth II is said to prefer "Happy Christmas" for this reason[3]. For book lovers who never get the time to read, audiobooks can make a great present. Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Christmas’ appears to go back a few hundred a long time. Probably not, but now we've pointed it out the reason will bug you until you've read the answer. As Christians, wishing others “Merry Christmas” can open the door to a spiritual conversation. Likewise, say 'Happy Hanukkah' to a … By the same token, ‘Bah! And this is the most likely reason it would just sound…odd to use the word for any other holiday. 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. 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. My family's all from Belgium & folks we know through business as well as pleasure all use the term 'Happy' when speaking of 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. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap. 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. Why do we say MERRY Christmas instead of another word like "happy"? Author: wfmynews2.com 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.” Because people have turned into maniacal, politically-correct morons underpinning the need to whine, and complain about useless things. 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. sort like you were stuttering Why is it Merry Christmas and not Happy Christmas? In the country of Ireland, they say Happy Christmas instead of Merry Christmas. Why is Christmas the only holiday we hope will be “merry”? We recommend our users to update the browser. Why Do We Say Merry Christmas? Our hope and joy are found in our Merciful Saviour. would not sound right to say happy christmas and happy new year. 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. 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 royal family adopted "Happy Christmas" as their preferred greeting, and others took note. This likely also helped cement the popularity of “Merry Christmas” in America—newly independent Americans were determined to specifically not do and say things the British way. However, it is more complex than that. 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’. 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. 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.) Personally, I have never used and I will never use “Xmas.” Katy Birchall takes a look at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge, and picks out, A genuine Henley-on-Thames landmark comes up for sale at £6.25 million, Barnes: The London village encircled by the Thames that’s left an indelible mark on the nation, A family home for sale in West Sussex that’s full of Gothic flourishes, Country Life's Top 100 architects, builders, designers and gardeners, Six audiobooks for Christmas, from Dickens to the latest Booker Prize winner, The Richmond landmark overlooking Britain’s only listed view to open its doors, The best places in Britain to go and hear Christmas choir services over the festive period. 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. It had not been seen for 174 years. Personally, 'Merry' reminds me of booze or Robin Hood. 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. We've picked out five. The phrase “Merry Christmas” was first used commercially in the first Christmas Card. Happy Holidays" debate has been a hot topic for a while now. Pin. The precise origin of merry Christmas is unclear. 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’. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays" debate has been a hot topic for a while now. they tend not to write "Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year" because it repeats "Happy' which doesn't read as well. Why Do We Say Merry Christmas? Merry Christmas! Not in … Relevance. Many peopl… 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. i.e. Next, find out 24 more trivia facts you never knew about Christmas. 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. It is the religious connection with the birth of Christ. Answer Save. So this brings us to the Merry Christmas vs Happy Holiday debate that is not complicated and is solved with basic etiquette. “Merry Christmas” is used in the U.S. while “Happy Christmas” is used in the U.K. 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. Eleanor Doughty reports on The Star and Garter. Blithely do we use this phrase as greeting, farewell or exclamation of joy with little thought to the book that made it famous. The word “merry” isn’t one we use very often during the months of January through November. The lost portrait of Dickens, painted by Margaret Gillies during the very same weeks in which he wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. Plus, find out exactly why we celebrate Christmas on December 25. 1 decade ago. Most people think this is the biggest way to differentiate between “merry” and “happy” is simply that. In addition, the language was changing and “merry” was falling out of fashion as a word on its own. The debate between the 2 phrases goes back several decades. 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. 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. The alternative "Happy Christmas" gained wide usage in the late 19th century, and is still common in the United Kingdom and Ireland. by Day Translations - December 24, 2017. One of Richmond's most recognisable landmarks has been converted into plush apartments. However, almost everybody writes "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". 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. I have been places where people actually use the phrase Happy Christmas instead because of this connection. The "Merry Christmas vs. 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? 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. If that is true Christians are being persecuted every time they cannot force their religious beliefs on others and the minority should all apologize. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we say 'Merry Christmas' when for every other occasion we use the word 'happy' instead'? In the 18th and 19thcentury when Christmas began to be more accepted in popular culture. Why do we say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Christmas? But if you wished someone a “Merry Birthday,” or a “Merry Halloween,” you’d probably get some weird looks! Think of it this way: “Happy Holidays” includes Christmas as one of those holidays, and “Merry Christmas” leaves out everything other than Christmas. 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. “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. 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. God bless us, every one! You may hear the phrase “Merry Christmas” around the world, including in England. 17 Shares. In the Irish language it is said as Nollaig Shona Duit. 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.” How do they say merry christmas in ireland? Most people know “merry” means roughly the same thing as “happy.” Even so, “merry” is much less common. 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. because we say merry christmas and happy new year. It was gaining popularity in carols as well. Share 17. 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’. Why? What started as a dispute forged by religious preference … 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’. Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. That’s why you’ll still hear it today in the U.K. December 22, 2014 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” 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,. (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!) Sure it potentially could be subjective because what if you have a Jewish person walk into your store, and you say the wrong holiday. A 1534 letter from a bishop to royal minister Thomas Cromwell in ireland AD, the language was changing “! 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