Take a look at your busy calendar – is it time to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year yet? Today I’d like to give you a list of ideas on how to greet your Ukrainian friends in their native language. Make yourself a warm mug of hot cocoa and let’s start!
З Різдвом (Христовим)! [z rizdvom (khrystovym)] – Merry Christmas!
Literally Різдво means birth in old Ukrainian. Even though it would sound ridiculous in English, it’s common to say З Різдвом Христовим! – Merry Christ’s Christmas! You may also hear an old-fashioned greeting, З Рождеством (Христовим)! It means exactly the same. This is an alternative chosen by the band Скрябін for their holiday song:
As Christmas is a huge religious holiday, it has its own greeting. Instead of the regular Добрий день or Привіт Ukrainians say Христос народився! – Christ is born! There is also an older version Христос ся рождає! with the same message. The appropriate response would be Славімо його! – Glory to Him!
We say it during all three Christmas days. That’s right, we have three Christmas days. We celebrate during January 7-9. Of course, the first day is the most important.
З Новим роком! [z novym rokom] – Happy New Year!
This is what you should start with. I’m certain you remember that Ukrainians celebrate New Year before Christmas. If this is brand new information for you, hurry and read our article about holidays in Ukraine! Usually people start saying З Новим роком! in the second half of December and it stops only around Christmas time.
Вітаю (тебе / вас) з Новим роком і Різдвом! [vitaju (tebe/vas) z novym rokom i rizdvom] – Congratulations (to you) on New Year and Christmas!
Just like with any other holiday, you can use Вітаю before the actual name of the holiday. It may sound odd in English but Ukrainians say it all the time. To make it more specific, you may use тебе / вас (informal and formal way of saying “you” respectively).
З прийдешніми святами! [z pryideshnimy svitamy] – Congratulations on the upcoming holidays!
My personal holiday season starts on December 1. Fortunately, we have a traditional greeting for easily-excited people like me. Using З прийдешніми святами! you cover all the basics – New Year’s, Christmas, Old New Year’s, etc. At the same time, you may make it more specific:
З прийдешнім Новим роком / З прийдешнім Різдвом! – Congratulations on the oncoming New Year / Christmas!
Щасливих свят! [shchaslyvykh sviat] – Happy holidays!
Веселих свят! [veselykh sviat] – Merry holidays!
This one is not a greeting but rather a wish, as it’s a part of a sentence Бажаю щасливих свят! [bazhaiu shchaslyvykh sviat] – I wish you to have happy holidays! But why say three words when you can say two? Instead of щасливих (happy) or веселих (merry), you can use теплих [teplykh] warm гарних [harnykh] nice or радісних [radisnykh] joyful. No matter what you choose, your Ukrainian friend will be glad to hear it.
That’s it for today. Now you know the best ways to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Ukrainian. I hope you will say and hear them when celebrating the winter holidays with Ukrainians.
If you prefer listening to reading, make sure to check out our podcast episode about winter holidays. There, you will also discover a Ukrainian carol – you don’t want to miss it!
З прийдешніми святами! 🙂
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