How Countries In Europe Say ‘Merry Christmas’


Whether you’re enjoying some sunny Mediterranean weather or skiing this winter, or you just want to surprise a friend by sending them a Christmas card in their language, here are all the European Christmas greetings you could need.

This colorful map of Europe was made by Jakub Marian, a Czech linguist who makes fun infographic maps in addition to having written a line of textbooks. If you like this Christmas map, you can check out his other maps that you can use all year long, like how European languages say “I love you”. His map of tea may surprise you with its simplicity – it looks like the world’s most popular drink is the one thing that most of us are in agreement about.

More info: Official site | Twitter | Amazon

This map shows how Europe says Merry Christmas

The colors on the map show the etymological roots of each phrase: for example, red represents Romance languages that use a Latin-based word for the event of the birth of Christ. You can see that some other languages, like the Celtic languages and Turkish, get their Christmas greetings as loanwords from the Romance languages. You can also see that up north, highlighted in green, people get their word for Christmas from the Old Norse pagan festival jól (we have this word in English as Yule!)

In Marian’s analysis on his website, he explains that he groups together German, Czech and Slovak because the latter two languages adopted an old German word for “holy night” into their lexicon.

He also explains that Romanian and Hungarian, even though Romanian is an Indo-European language like the other Romance languages, while Hungarian is from a completely different family, seem to have gotten their word for Christmas from the same root in either Proto-Slavic or Latin.

Maybe you didn’t know that Christmas is celebrated differently all over Europe, and in many places, it’s not over yet. Orthodox Christians in Russia, Ukraine, and parts of the Balkans will be celebrating the Nativity on January 7th, due to a difference in the ceremonial calendar that they use, and get national holidays to match.

However, in countries that spent most of the 20th century under Soviet control, suppression of religion prevented celebrating Christmas, which meant that Christmas celebrations were largely rebranded and merged with New Year’s Eve. As a result, many cultures as you go east celebrate New Year’s Eve more heavily than Christmas to this day, often mixing imagery from the two holidays. (Conveniently, Marian has included a map for that too!)

Here are all of the phrases listed on the map, if you need to copy and paste them:

AlbanianGëzuar Krishtlindjet
BasqueEguberri on
Belarusianз Калядамі or з Божым Нараджэннем (z Kaljádami or z Bozym Naradžénnjem)
BretonNedeleg laouen
BulgarianВесела Коледа or Честито Рождество Христово (Vesela Koleda or Chestito Roždestvo Hristovo)
CatalanBon Nadal
CroatianSretan Božić
CzechVeselé Vánoce
Danish God jul or Glædelig jul
DutchVrolijk Kerstfeest
EnglishMerry Christmas or Happy Christmas
EstonianHäid jõule
FinnishHyvää joulua
FrenchJoyeux Noël
GalicianBo Nadal
GermanFröhliche Weihnachten or Frohe Weihnachten
GreekΚαλά Χριστούγεννα (Kalá Christoúgenna)
HungarianBoldog karácsonyt
IcelandicGleðileg jól
IrishNollaig Shona + Dhuit (singular) or Daoibh (plural)
ItalianBuon Natale
LatvianPriecīgus Ziemassvētkus
LithuanianLinksmų Kalėdų
LuxembourgishSchéine Chrëschtdag
MacedonianСреќен Божиќ or Христос се роди (Sreḱen Božiḱ or Hristos se rodi)
Malteseil-Milied it-Tajjeb
NorwegianGod jul
Northern SamiBuorit juovllat
RomanianCrăciun fericit
OccitanBon Nadal
PolishWesołych Świąt (Bożego Narodzenia)
Portuguese: Feliz Natal
Russianс Рождеством (Христовым) (s Roždestvóm [Hristóvym])
Scottish GaelicNollaig Chridheil
SerbianSrećan Božić or Hristos se rodi
SardinianBona Pasca de Nadale
SlovakVeselé Vianoce
SloveneVesel božič
SpanishFeliz Navidad
SwedishGod jul
TurkishMutlu Noeller
Ukrainianз Різдвом (Христовим) (z Rizdvóm [Hrystóvym])
WelshNadolig Llawen

Jakub Marian’s books and map prints can be found on his official website.




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