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Gustav Zhuravlev
Gustav Zhuravlev

Merry Christmas

Why don't people wish you a Festive Christmas? And a Merry New Year? In fact, why is Christmas merry when no other occasion seems to be? After all, you probably don't wish people a Merry Birthday very often. You probably also don't hear many Merry Hanukkahs or Merry Ramadans either! What's the deal?

Merry Christmas


In fact, Happy Christmas tends to be the preferred phrase for a significant minority of Great Britain. Why might this be? It could be the queen's influence. A rumor has circulated that Queen Elizabeth prefers happy to merry, because the word merry, to her, carries with it a sense of boisterousness and even intoxication.

A linguistic comparison of happy and merry lends support to this theory. Early church leaders in Great Britain may have encouraged Christian followers to be happy rather than engage in merrymaking! In this sense, Happy Christmas is a bit more conservative and reserved than Merry Christmas, which conveys a more emotional, unrestrained celebration. 041b061a72


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