The Christmas season is here again, but have you ever wondered how you would say merry Christmas in Spanish? In Spanish-speaking countries, “Feliz Navidad” is a common phrase that means “merry Christmas.” You can’t go wrong with it because you’ll hear it everywhere during this Christmas festive season. Furthermore, the word “Navida” is used to refer to both Christmas itself and the full holiday season between December 24 and January 6. In this article, you will learn about what to do during Christmas, Spanish Christmas traditions, vocabulary, and greetings you can use on this and other festive occasions.
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Merry Christmas in Spanish
As earlier said, the most common way to say Merry Christmas in Spanish is by saying “Feliz Navidad”. ‘Feliz’ in English means “happy” and “Navidad” simply means “nativity” i.e. church festival commemorating the birth of Christ, so in short it means “Happy Christmas”. This phrase is so popular that you might have probably heard of it from the song sung by the Puerto Rican musician, José Feliciano, “Feliz Navidad (I Wanna Wish You a Merry Christmas)”, making the phrase famous globally, for everyone to know how to say merry Christmas in Spanish.
So if you ever forget how to say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish, think of this song and it should come back to you.
Spanish Christmas Traditions
Knowing how to say merry Christmas in Spanish is not the only thing involved during Christmas time, you must also learn what to do during this time. There are 4 common Spanish traditions done during Christmas, and these traditions are also done in Latin households.
1. Set up the Manger
Knowing how to set up a manger and designing such a scene is fun and fulfilling, and it is one of the Spanish or Latin American family traditions that help to keep the religious meaning of the Christmas holiday alive at this time of year. To set up a manger, they put together a structure that can be made from wood, cardboard, or by re-using an animal feeding trough where the “baby Jesus” goes
2. Family Dinners
Family having dinner together is also one of the traditions during Christmas. In Spanish and Latin American culture, families eat together at 12:00, as this is the most important time in Spanish to wine and dine together on Christmas day. This dinner can also include the extended family, who will also be around to felicitate with them. Families often stay up all night during Christmas celebrating together and opening gifts after the midnight mass.
3. Open Presents at Midnight
Talking about opening gifts after midnight. Gift presentation is also an important part of Spanish and Latin American culture. After wining and dining together, and watching fireworks, the next thing to do is to open presents. This is done around 1:00am and the celebration goes on until around 4 or 5am, or even beyond that before people bid themselves good night in Spanish way and go to sleep. Kindly read our blog on colors in Spanish to learn the colors to use in decorating your house during this Spanish season
4. Los Reyes Magos
The last on the list of Spanish traditions are getting gifts from the Los Reyes Magos (The three wise men). Who are the Los Reyes Magos? In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, Los Reyes Magos brings gifts and deliver them to children, and not Santa Claus, like the Americans would do. Also unlike Santa Claus, they share their gifts on the 6th of January in the new year and not the Christmas day.
The 6th of January is traditionally celebrated as The Epiphany in Christian Culture. This means that Spanish kids have to wait for 12 days after Christmas to receive the goods! But that’s not to say they don’t get gifts from their families on Christmas either, so when you think of it another way, it’s like they have two special days to get gifts! Nowadays, they get an even better deal as most families acknowledge Santa Claus as well as Los Reyes Magos.
Christmas Vocabulary in Spanish
These are some Spanish vocabulary you should familiarize yourself with as the Christmas season approaches.
|English Vocabulary||Spanish Vocabulary|
|Christmas tree||Árbol de Navidad|
|Candy cane||Bastón de caramelo|
|Christmas card||Tarjeta de Navidad|
|Jingle bell||Resuenan las campanas|
|Christmas lights||Luces de Navidad|
Spanish: Necesito velas rojas para la próxima navidad.
Translation: I need red candles for the upcoming Christmas
Spanish: Me encanta ver el árbol de Navidad en diciembre.
Translation: I love to see Christmas tree in December
Spanish: Mi familia viene a celebrar la Navidad conmigo este año.
Translation: My family is coming to celebrate Christmas with me this year
Spanish: Mi bebé debe recibir algunos regalos durante la Navidad.
Translation: My baby must get some gifts during Christmas.
Other Holiday Vocabulary in Spanish
There are other vocabularies not directly related to Christmas only but are used during holidays in Spanish. Since you will be having a holiday during the Christmas season, it will be good for you to also learn these holiday-related vocabularies.
|English Vocabulary||Spanish Vocabulary|
Spanish: Mi abuela prepara un rico pollo
Translation: My grandma prepares a delicious chicken
Spanish: Me encanta el vino tinto durante las vacaciones.
Translation: I love red wine during holidays
Spanish: Compraré globos para mis hijas.
Translation: I will buy ballons for my kids
Spanish: ¿Hay buenos cines por aquí?
Translation: Are there any nice cinemas around?
Other Holiday Greetings in Spanish
There are again, other holiday greetings in Spanish and they include the following;
1. Felices Fiestas – Happy Holidays
Felices Fiestas is a Spanish phrase that is often translated as “Happy Holidays”. It’s a phrase that’s used around Christmas time or during some months in Spanish when there are holidays. The phrase is often used in conjunction with Feliz Navidad.
Spanish: Felices fiestas, queridas amigas, asegúrese de disfrutar
Translation: Happy Holidays, dear friends, make sure to enjoy yourself
2. Felices Pascuas de Navidad – Happy Christmas Holidays
Felices Pascuas de Navidad, or Felices Pascuas for short, is another greeting of the season, particularly widespread in Spain. This phrase is mostly used to say merry Christmas in Spanish too. It is also used more in Spain than in Latin America. You may notice that this greeting and Felices fiestas use felices instead of the feliz, we use in feliz navidad and feliz año nuevo. This is because here we are talking about singular one-day celebrations of Navidad and año nuevo and not plural (holidays). This kind of Spanish grammar agreement has been explained well in our adjectives in Spanish article.
Spanish: Felices pascuas de navidad abuela!
Translation: Happy Christmas Holidays grandma!
3. Feliz Año Nuevo – Happy New Year!
After the Christmas period, comes the New Year right? Yes, in Spanish, the phrase Feliz Año Nuevo is used to say “Happy New Year”. This phrase is used on the 1st of January but you would have been hearing a lot of people saying it as soon as 12:00am on new year’s day.
Spanish: Feliz año nuevo que este año traiga bondad
Translation: Happy new year, may this year bring forth goodness
4. Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo! – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Another popular expression that you can use during these holidays is Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo which means ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It’s a standard term, you can use this Spanish phrase in both formal and informal contexts to wish people the best during these holidays. ‘Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo’ not only wishes people a Merry Christmas, but it also expresses that we hope that the upcoming year will be prosperous and successful.
Spanish: Ally, feliz navidad y próspero año para ti y tu familia!
Translation: Ally, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family!
4. Te deseo un Feliz Año Nuevo – I wish you a happy new year
Lastly, another way to wish someone a new year in Spanish is by saying Te deseo un Feliz Año Nuevo. This phrase is a more formal or a long way to say Feliz Año Nuevo, and it is mostly used for formal purposes, such as with business partners, office, or at a formal gathering, you don’t just say Happy new year, you should say I wish you a happy new year (Te deseo un Feliz Año Nuevo).
Spanish: En nombre del CEO, te deseo un Feliz Año Nuevo
Translation: On behalf of the CEO, I wish you a happy new year
FAQs for Merry Christmas in Spanish
The phrase to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish is Feliz Navidad. This is the most commonly used phrase in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, irrespective of age, relationship, etc. You are free to use this phrase anywhere, and you won’t be wrong. A longer expression you can use is Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo. With this, you are not **only wishing them a merry Christmas but also a happy new year.
If someone greets you with Merry Christmas or happy Christmas, the best way to respond is Feliz Navidad a ti también (Merry Christmas to you too). Since everyone is felicitating Christmas, wishing each other a merry Christmas is so fun. Some other people may respond with gracias por informar (Thank you for informing).
Christmas is called Navidad in Spanish. “Navidad” simply means “nativity” i.e church festival commemorating the birth of Christ, so in short it means “Happy Christmas”.
It’s time for Feliz Navidad!
Now that you have learned how to wish someone merry Christmas in Spanish, it won’t be bad to go out there and say those wishes. Try talking about the Spanish traditions and vocabulary you have learned too. Also do not forget about the Los Reyes Magos (the three Wise Men) who bring gifts instead of Santa Claus? Spread Christmas cheer with all the new things you learned, and bring some good luck into your New Year. If you want to get more festive, learn how to say Merry Christmas in French, Italian or German to impress your European friends. Before you go, have you read how to say you in Spanish. To develop your Spanish communication skills, check out AmazingTalker to connect with online Spanish tutors who can assist you in learning the Spanish language easily, efficiently, and quickly, and you would be speaking Spanish like a native in a short time.