Merry Christmas!

Happy translated Christmas wishes from Yvonne and Luccia!

What’s Christmas without learning some new tidbits that can start a conversation at an awkward family dinner?

Today we’re discussing the origin of the word Christmas!

Merriam-Webster defines Christmas as a Christian feast on December 25, or among some Eastern Orthodox Christians on January 7, that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday.

christmas tree decorations

But where does this word originate from?

The word Christmas comes from the Old English word Cristes-messe, meaning literally Christ’s Mass.

The origin of mass, in the Christian sense of the word, cannot be accurately traced back. We know it comes from the Latin word missa, but we are still up in arms about what missa actually means. The most popular theory is this word is derived from the Hebrew word missah, which means “unleavened bread”. A food which God commanded to be offered with the Passover sacrifice in the Exodus.

The origin of the word Christ is also quite interesting. It comes from Greek Χριστός (Christós), meaning “anointed”, which is a translation of Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ māšîaḥ (“anointed”) that has been incorporated into the English language as “messiah”. Hence, “Christ” and “Messiah” essentially mean the same thing, the former tracing its origins back to Ancient Greek and the latter to Classical Hebrew.

Impress your family members with your newfound knowledge this year and go easy on the eggnog! 😉

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