Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How do you write “Merry Christmas” in Spanish? “Feliz navidad” or “Feliz Navidad”?

How do you write “Merry Christmas” in Spanish? “Feliz navidad” or “Feliz Navidad”?

If you need to write it on Facebook, a greeting card, or an email, you may write:

Feliz navidad

However, you may also write it with capital N, but the meaning changes a little bit. According to the Spanish Royal Academy, “Navidad” with capital E means the season between the night of December 24th and and January 6th . Therefore, if you write,

Feliz Navidad

You are wishing happy Christmas/New Year season, including the Epiphany.

You can also make it plural, las “Navidades,” which in some regions is more common than in others. But you can also say,

Felices pascuas

Which has the same meaning as “Feliz Navidad.” The word “pascua” (pass – quah) can also be capitalized. It means “easter” and “passover,” although you may say “pascua judía” or “Jewish Easter” to be more precise. “Pascua” also means the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and any other solemn celebration in the Catholic Church. Thus, “felices pascuas” is an expression for Easter, Passover, and Christmas, and the Epiphany.

Nochebuena is the night before Christmas, and the name of the red plant (or flower?) known as “poinsettia” in the United States. The “Epiphany” or “Epifanía” is also known as The Three Kings Day (los Santos Reyes Magos).

Should you write Christmas or christmas, Pascua or pascua? It all depends on you. My suggestion is that if you are not a Christian, you do not need to capitalize these words, but if you are a Christian, then capitalize them, please. Now, if you are a Christian AND a bad speller, then you're saved, since both spellings are accepted.

In any case, the most common phrases that mean “Merry Christmas” are:

¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Felices Pascuas!

If you need to add “Happy New Year,” you may say, “¡Feliz año nuevo! Or, you guessed it, ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Thanks for reading. I hope this helped.