Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Origin Of The Merry Christmas Greeting

by Carissa Odom

Christmas is a season where a lot of people are inspired to love and be loved. One of the most common Christmas greetings is Merry Christmas. The merry Christmas greeting may seem quite self explanatory but in reality it is not actually based on the exact words. The merry Christmas greeting has been around for centuries and it has metamorphosed into what it is today through the years. This is mainly due to people wanting a shorter greeting and the evolution of words through time.

Although, many people believe that the merry Christmas greeting focuses on Christians mainly and those who do celebrate the event, many use the merry Christmas greeting even when they do not celebrate or believe in Jesus Christ. For some people, the merry Christmas greeting is actually just words that are used to acknowledge the season which is called the Christmas season. The words are even found in some merry Christmas songs which many people sing to.

Lost In Translation

Originally, the merry Christmas greeting started out in old English, with myrige Christmas. The word myrige meant pleasant, a very tepid word compared to the merry that is now being uttered by almost everybody during the holiday season. Eventually, people who have misheard or thought that merry was better than the original myrige, spread the new phrase as a greeting for the holiday.

The first time that the term was written, and thus immortalized, was in a letter that an admiral wrote. It stated the merry Christmas greeting and the traditional happy New Year greeting directly after. This was in 1699 but it was in the year 1843 that the merry Christmas greeting was more commonplace. It was mentioned in the book, A Christmas Carol, and also was in the song and title of the song, We Wish You a Merry Christmas. After this, the merry Christmas greeting has appeared numerous other times and has been a frequent greeting during the Christmas season.

The merry Christmas greeting is more popular in North America and Asian regions who celebrate Christmas. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the people prefer to use the Happy Christmas greeting. The reason for this is because the word merry denotes a certain tipsiness or drunkenness of the person greeting or the one being greeted. The merry Christmas greeting epitomizes a lot of meaning and heartfelt affection for the person who greets and the one being greeted. - 39969

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