Merry Christmas is a term used by millions to express good tidings this Christmas season. In order to understand the meaning behind Merry Christmas it is important to understand the phrase Christmas. Christmas is a combination of the phrase Christ Mass. This is an annual tradition that dates back to the fourth century where millions of people gather together on Christmas for a large mass honoring the birth of Jesus Christ. Since Pope Julius I declared that the 25th of December should be regarded as the date of Christ’s birth, mass is held every year on this day. The phrase Christ Mass was shortened to Christmas and the holiday became a cultural mixing pot of pagan and Christian values.
The first recorded Christmas celebration occurred during the time of Constantine, a man known for being the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire, in the 313 AD. It is widely accepted that Christmas celebrations were happening before this time.
The Term “Merry”
Merry wasn’t always associated directly with Christmas. It took quite a few years before the term Merry Christmas caught on. It wasn’t until 19th century England, that the term merry was ever associated with Christmas. The term was coined by various authors throughout the period, such as Charles Dickens and Washington Irving. Both of these authors included the phrase Merry Christmas in their writing. It was Charles Dickens’ famous story A Christmas Carol, which cemented the popularity of the phrase “Merry Christmas”.
The expression to “Be or make merry” translates to make joy or be joyful. It generally is used to express good cheer and being in a state of content. When people use “Merry Christmas” they are expressing their desire for the other person to be joyful and have a wonderful holiday season.
Controversy over “Merry Christmas”
In recent years there has been a lot of controversy over the use of “Merry Christmas”. In an age where it is almost impossible to be politically correct, many people have felt that “Merry Christmas” isn’t an appropriate term to use anymore. This is mainly associated with the term “Merry Christmas” being popularized by Christians. With a world striving for religious equality, Christian terms such as “Merry Christmas” have bothered others that don’t subscribe to Christian based theology. Many people have opted for using the phrase “Happy Holidays” to express a more politically correct option. Other people argue that saying “Merry Christmas” shouldn’t be mainly associated with one religion and should still be acceptable to use. Regardless of religious beliefs, “Merry Christmas” has been the go to Christmas phrase for centuries.
The Real Meaning of “Merry Christmas”
Regardless of religious theologies, “Merry Christmas” is used as a term to spread good will to others. It is the most recognizable term of good will around the world and despite recent controversy, it is still the most popular Christmas phrase. The term can be found on everything associated with Christmas from wrapping paper to Christmas cards. The true meaning being “Merry Christmas” is to wish others a happy and productive Christmas season.