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Culture

Our Everyday Greek: This December We Express Our Christmas Wishes in Greek

December 18, 2017
Dimitra Pontoporou

This Christmas, surprise your friends and send your wishes for Christmas and New Year in Greek.

Merry Christmas in Greek is: ΚαλάΧριστούγεννα! ΧαρούμεναΧριστούγεννα!

The New Year’s wishes in Greek are: Καλήχρονιά! Ευτυχισμένη η καινούρια χρονιά! Ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος! Ευτυχισμένοτο 2018!

CHRISTMAS WISHES

Greek phrase  Pronunciation  Meaning

Ευχές  efHES Wishes

γιαταΧριστούγεννα!   yiA TA hriSTOOyena! for Christmas!

ΚαλάΧριστούγεννα!   kaLA hriSTOOyena!   Merry Christmas!

ΧαρούμεναΧριστούγεννα!     haROOmena hriSTOOyena! Happy Christmas!

Σαςεύχομαι     SAS Efhome I wish you (plural, polite)

ΣουεύχομαιSOO Efhome       I wish you (singular)

Καλέςγιορτές! kaLES yioRTES!        Happy celebration!

The word Χριστού+γεννα is a compound one: Χριστός+γεννώ. Χριστός is Christ and γεννώ is give birth. Consequently, the Greek word for Christmas means Jesus Christ’s birth. Theadjective ο καλ-ός, η καλ-ή, το καλ-ό meansgood, merry, andthepluralis:οι καλ-οί, οι καλ-ές, τα καλ-ά. Theadjective ο χαρούμεν-ος, η χαρούμεν-η, το χαρούμεν-ο meanshappy, merry, joyful, andthepluralis: οι χαρούμεν-οι, οι χαρούμεν-ες, τα χαρούμεν-α. The adjective endings change according to the grammatical gender and the number, singular or plural. The word Christmas is of neuter grammatical gender and plural number; therefore we say Καλ-άΧριστούγεννα! Χαρούμεν-αΧριστούγεννα! The word ηγιορτ-ή, the celebration, is of feminine grammatical gender and the ending in the plural number, for both the noun and the adjective, is -ες: οιγιορτές. Therefore we say Καλ-έςγιορτ-ές!

The noun ηευχή, the wish, comes from the verb εγώεύχομαι, I wish.

NEW YEAR’S WISHES

Greek phrase  Pronunciation  Meaning

Καλήχρονιά!   kaLEE hroniA! Happy New Year!

Ευτυχισμένος ο νέος χρόνος!            eftihiSMEnosONEosHROnos!           Happy New Year!

Ευτυχισμένηη eftihiSMEni EE            Happy New Year!

καινούριαχρονιά! keNOOryia hroniA!

Ευτυχισμένοτονέοέτος!          eftihiSMEno TO NEo Etos!    Happy New Year!

Ευτυχισμένο   eftihiSMEno    Happy

το δύο χιλιάδες δέκα οκτώ!    TO DEEo hiliAdes DEka oKTO! 2018!

Καλήπρωτοχρονιά!    kaLEE protohroniA!    Happy New Year’s Day!

In Greek we use three different words for the year: οχρόνος, ηχρονιά, τοέτος. Note that the word έτος, though it ends in -ος, is of neuter grammatical gender, while οχρόν-ος that also ends in -οςis a masculine grammatical gender noun. All three mean the same thing: the year. The first two are familiar to English speaking persons from words like chrono+meter, chron+icle.

Ο νέ-ος, η νέ-α, το νέ-ο meannew. Thesamemeaninghastheadjectiveο καινούρι-ος, η καινούρι-α, το καινούρι-ο. In Greek generally, the ending of the adjective changes together with the ending of the noun. Thereforewesay:

ο νέ-ος χρόν-ος, ο καινούρι-ος χρόν-ος, ο ευτυχισμέν-ος χρόν-ος,

η νέ-α χρονι-ά, η καινούρι-α χρονι-ά, η ευτυχισμέν-η χρονι-ά

το νέ-ο έτ-ος, το καινούρι-ο έτος, το ευτυχισμέν-ο έτος.

Ηχρονιά is the year, as above mentioned, and ηΠρωτοχρονιά is the first day, ηπρώτη, of the year, the New Year’s Day, which is usually holiday.

In Greek it is common to have different words of similar meaning. Χαρούμενος means joyful, happy and ευτυχισμένος means happy, blissful.

EXERCISES

Try to match the Christmas wishes with their translation in Greek.

1.Merry Christmas!     1. ΧαρούμεναΧριστούγεννα!

Happy Christmas! 2. Καλά Χριστούγεννα!
Christmaswishes 3. Ευχές για τα Χριστούγεννα!

Now try to write in Greek:

1.Maria, I wish you Merry Christmas!

Mrs. Ioannou, I wish you Merry Christmas!

Write in Greek:

1.Maria, I wish you a Happy New Year!

Mrs. Ioannou, I wish you a Happy New Year!

PRONUNCIATION KEY

i (ill), ee (beer), e (ever), o (organ), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.

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