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Why are Happy Easter & Merry Christmas the same in Polish


SophiaS 1 | -
14 Dec 2011  #1
I did a number of searches on the internet and this site on how to translate Merry Christmas into Polish because according to my parents, one year I wished everyone a Happy Easter instead.

I am confused - Why does Wesołych Świąt translate to both Happy Easter & Merry Christmas?
Thanking you in advace for your insights - dzęnkuje bardzo

Sophia (Zosia)
Marynka11 4 | 675
14 Dec 2011  #2
Wesolych Swiat says as much as merry holidays. That's why it's good for both occasions.
Lyzko
14 Dec 2011  #3
More precisely if you want to specify in Polish the holiday (usually not necessary when speaking), it's "Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia" or "Wesołych Świąt Wielkanoc", respectively "Joyous Holiday of our Lord's birth" (Christmas) vs. "Joyous Holiday of the Great Night", resp. (Easter)

I've only been greeted by Poles with a simple "Wesołych Świąt!", period-:) As many know I'm Jewish, they might add ".........Chanukkah!" LOL
Lyzko
14 Dec 2011  #4
"Chanukki", sorry!
Zman
14 Dec 2011  #5
Lyzko: it would be: Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocy! or ....Wielkanocnych! Both expressions are rarely used though, however your version is not grammatically correct. Just saying... The wishes are made mostly for X-mas though, and in a shortened version i.e. Wesołych Świąt! Re: Hannukkah, I was once interrogated by those Haredis (from Brooklyn?) in Downtown NYC on Broadway, who had just lit a major Menorah there. Perhaps I looked jewish to them? They seemed very joyous at the time.... as we all should be now. Then again, some swedish chick asked me if I was swedish when I was on Cran Canaria... LOL :-)
pawian 153 | 8,491
15 Dec 2011  #6
I am confused - Why does Wesołych Świąt translate to both Happy Easter & Merry Christmas?

You are a really happy person to have such problems.

Now, can you explain sth to me? Why do the English language speakers use two different adjectives for Christmas and Easter? It isn`t normal, is it ?
Lyzko
17 Dec 2011  #7
I realize now my mistake with the Easter Greetings. Somewhere, I remember a children's expression 'Wesołych Jajkach!', but this maybe either my faulty memory, plain bad Polish, an older regionalism/slang, or simply dialect.
JonnyM 11 | 2,622
17 Dec 2011  #8
It isn`t normal, is it ?

Very normal. Happy is good for both. Merry has an old meaning involving parties (and alcohol). "Merry meet".
Lyzko
17 Dec 2011  #9
Pawian, perhaps the English were used to being a bit "merry" (tipsy, inebriated) at Christmas time, since it does fall in winter which can be bitterly cold and there's nothing like some nice mulled wine or punch to take the chill from the bonesLOL Easter's considered a happy or joyous event in itself (nothing whatsoever to do with alcohol consumption), as our Christian brethren believe on this day, their Savior rose again!
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,726
17 Dec 2011  #10
Why do the English language speakers use two different adjectives for Christmas and Easter?

'merry' means drunk, and you don't get drunk at Easter.
Some English speakers object to 'merry' Christmas, and use 'happy' for that very reason.
Lyzko
17 Dec 2011  #11
In German, one typically wishes "ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest" or "a blessed Christmas" when being more formal and solemn. It's merely an alternative though, strictly up to the individual speaker:-)
pawian 153 | 8,491
17 Dec 2011  #12
'merry' means drunk,

Only as No 3 explanation:

1. cheerful; jolly
2. very funny; hilarious
3. Brit informal slightly drunk
4. Archaic delightful


and you don't get drunk at Easter.

Why not?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,389
17 Dec 2011  #13
as the term was introduced by charles dickens i'd plump for number 1 or maybe 4
pam
17 Dec 2011  #14
'merry' means drunk

sorry, but MERRY means slightly intoxicated...you are not falling down yet! maybe later!!
pawian 153 | 8,491
17 Dec 2011  #15
This discussion reminds me of our History of Brit Literature lecturer who, while discussing some English poem, complained that such a beautiful word as gay got so corrupted. :):):)

PS. I have dug out my old indexbook to recover the professor`s name - dr P. Vernon. I liked him for his unorthodox attitude.
pam
17 Dec 2011  #16
This discussion reminds me of our History of Brit Literature lecturer who, while discussing some English poem, complained that such a beautiful word as gay got so corrupted. :):):)

totally normal for england. most words get corrupted somewhere along the way haha!
ColdSteel - | 20
18 Dec 2011  #17
Somewhere, I remember a children's expression 'Wesołych Jajkach!'

I wouldn't recommend using those words. 'Jajka' (eggs) have similar connotations as 'balls' in English. Also I don't think anyone wishes 'Merry Eggs (or Balls)'. It's 'smacznego jajka' but as a part of longer greetings. Anyway, it's best to just forget about mentioning eggs unless you're prepared for sex-related jokes.
LadyLily49
8 Apr 2014  #18
Actually, according to my parents who also are originally from WWII Poland, the proper way to say Merry Christmas IS
INDEED Wesołych Swiąt, but the best way to say Happy Easter is to say Wesołego Alleluja as many Poles believe in
Easter as the celebration of Christ's resurrection...
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
8 Apr 2014  #19
"Happy Easter!" specifically among more observant Catholics I've heard as "Mokrego Śmigusa Dyngusa!"
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
8 Apr 2014  #20
Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia
Radosnych Świąt Wielkiej Nocy / Wielkanocnych

(note the difference between wesołych (merry) and radosnych (joyful)

or simply

Wesołych Świąt :-)

"as many Poles believe in
Easter as the celebration of Christ's resurrection..."

Well, Easter IS the celebration of Christ's resurrection, actually ;-)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
8 Apr 2014  #21
Very useful, Magdalena! Many thanks. I suppose the person to whom I addressed the Easter greetings might have supposed I thought her to be a religious person:-)
Margaret123
20 Apr 2014  #22
"Happy Easter!" specifically among more observant Catholics I've heard as "Mokrego Śmigusa Dyngusa!"

Dear Wlodzimierz: Being one such observant Catholic (and fluent speaker of Polish), I can assure you that "śmigus dingus" refers to the Monday after Easter (Easter being pretty much over at that point), which can also be called Wet Monday and is sometimes called Dyngus Day among the Polish diaspora in the US. There is a Wikipedia article on the subject. What you wrote basically means that you are wishing someone a wet Wet Monday!

This is one of the zaniest (and strangest, to an outsider) Polish traditions. I grew up in Canada, so never got to experience the craziness that goes on in Poland: people using hoses to drench passers-by, people lying in ambush on their balcony to empty a bucket of water over the heads of their own dinner guests as they try to enter the apartment building (this was actually done by some relatives of mine), etc. But I have very fond memories of keeping a full toy water gun beside my bed when I was a child so I could instantly retaliate when my father came in with a mug of water. I got more creative later. At 17, I devised a contraption consisting of a Ziploc bag filled with water that was taped to the ceiling just inside my bedroom door. One side had a string taped to it, whose other end was wrapped around my inside door handle. When my father (inevitably) came in, already dressed for work, to do his devious (and traditionally expected) deed, I had the satisfaction of seeing the bag tip its contents right on top of him.

So, as you see, not much to do with Easter (unless you make a parallel between holy water and Dyngus water, and I don't even know if one can be made). And even unobservant Poles get in on the craziness.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Apr 2014  #23
Lany Poniedziałek has, deep down, more in common with Holi than with the Christian traditions of Easter :-)

"Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox,[5] on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian Calendar. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships."
qwertyuiop65643
5 Apr 2015  #24
Actually, "merry", strictly defined, does NOT mean "tipsy" as has been wrongly asserted here. Its meaning is the same as it was originally: happy. Arguably, it could mean Happy+.

I'll admit that that original meaning has fallen out of use, but foreigners & ESL/EFL speakers still use it. Yes, today's 2015 meaning (& for the past 3 decades) for native Anglophones (English speakers), "merry" does imply/suggest "tipsy" via partaking of alcohol, esp during the X-mas holidays.

Pawian's sources, references, & understanding are correct.

To answer Pawian's Qn: "Why do the English language speakers use two different adjectives for Christmas and Easter?" The simple answer is it's a combination of long-standing custom/tradition & nuance. Although happy/merry are synonymous, to a native Anglophone, switching the 2 ("Happy X-mas" & "Merry Easter") would sound awkward/stilted. I'm sure in Polish it's the same w/ not only holiday expressions but all forms of daily communication.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,726
5 Apr 2015  #25
Happy and merry are not synonymous. Merry would definitely suggest drunkeness, a pre Christian wassail, and is abhorred by more religious people who would only use 'Happy Christmas' in their cards. eg my mother, lol.,

certainly Merry Christmas, Happy Easter are collocations in daily use
katzinchen
25 Mar 2016  #26
It's Happy Christmas to the British. :-)


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