The Greek word for Christmas is Christougena or Christougenna, literally meaning Christ's birth. When Greeks say "Merry Christmas," they say, "Kala Christougena." If you aren't sure how to pronounce that, you can hear Merry Christmas and other phrases spoken here.
The apparent "g" sound is pronounced like a "y."
You'll also see it as Kalo christougenna, but kala is correct.
How to Write Merry Christmas in Greek
In Greek lettering, here is how you write Merry Christmas: Καλά Χριστούγεννα.
How to Say Happy New Year in Greek
Around the holidays, you will also hear Chronia Polla, which is how the Greeks wish each other a happy New Year. Literally, it means "many years" and serves as a wish for long life and happy years to come. You'll also see this phrase strung in lights across the main road running through many villages and small towns in Greece. Sometimes it is spelled in English as Xronia Polla or Hronia Polla. In Greek letters, it is Χρόνια Πολλά.
The more formal New Year's greeting is a tongue twister: Eftikismenos o kenourisos kronos, which means "Happy New Year."
The Greek Influence on Xmas
Greek has also had an impact on the written abbreviation of Christmas as "Xmas." While this is sometimes considered a disrespectful way of writing it, for the Greeks it is a way of writing the word using the cross symbolized by the "X." It is considered to be a perfectly respectful way of writing Christmas rather than a casual abbreviation.
Christmas Music in Greece
Greece has its own musical traditions around the holidays, too. In fact, the English word for Christmas carol comes from the Greek dance, the Choraulein, performed to flute music. Christmas carols were originally sung during festivals.
A few popular Christmas songs in Greece include Lampis Livieratos's "Ta Hristougenna horis esena," Glykeria's "San Xristougenna" and Konstantinos Xristoforou's "Einai Xristougenna."
Learn More About Christmas in Greece
- Find out: Was Santa Greek?
- View a photo gallery of Christmas in Athens, Greece.
- See what Christmas on the Greek Island of Antiparos looks like.