Why did I wish tranquil times? To many English speakers, this should sound weird. But it’s in good Christmas faith. In Germany, we have many ways of wishing Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas: Frohe Weihnachten!
When we like to wish someon “merry christmas” in exactly that meaning, we say “Frohe Weihnachten!”. Literally, it means: “Happy Consecration Nights”. It’s not that much weirder than in English, where “Christmas” literally meant “Christ’s mass”. Wishing “Frohe Weihnachten!” isn’t reserved for religious people. And although many Germans would identify as Christians, most of us are very secular Christians. Even when you are not a Christian you can wish “Merry Christmas” or “Frohe Weihnachten” – no one should bat an eye there.
Happy Holidays: Frohes Fest!
Alternatively, you could also just say “Frohes Fest!” It has a more secular meaning but is essentially interchangeable with “Merry Christmas!” Both relate to the holidays of 25th and 26th of December. By the way: December 25 and 26 are national holidays in Germany but we gift each other presents on the evening of the 24th of December. The “Heilig Abend”, the “holy evening”, is reserved for family, for gift-giving, singing, watching TV, going to church, talking, or whatever family tradition there is.
What are tranquil times?
The nearest English expression would be silent nights in the meaning of beautifully silent i.e. nothing bad happen and you have time for reflection. The German expression would be “Besinnliche Zeit” and I think it’s wonderful and poetic way to say: Have a good time, take care of yourself.
Happy New Year: Guten Rutsch!
Finally, when holidays are over, the party starts. We like to crack some fireworks in Germany, have a party, and make loud noises. It’s much like the Chinese New Year’s Festivals or other similar holidays all over the globe.
Oddly enough, when we like to say “Happy New Year!” instead of saying “I wish you a happy new year!” we often just say “Guten Rutsch!” which means “Have a good slide!”. It doesn’t mean that we want you to slip or something. This phrase is very old and stems from a Jewish holiday wish that became obscured over the centuries because it sounded a lot like “Have a good slip.
So, happy consecration nights, have some tranquil times, and have a good slip, everyone! See you all in 2017! 😉
I have a neverending curiosity how things work. I'm involved with Mailbox Germany since 2014. Let us explore this world and its logistics!
Since 2011, I work as Schrift-Architekt, a freelance consultant for social media and for some time now I am an avid German podcaster with #Onlinegeister, radio about internet culture, social media, and PR.
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