The Greek name for Christmas is Christougena or Christougenna - literally meaning Christ's birth. When Greeks say "Merry Christmas", they say Kala Christougena - Merry Christmas. You can hear Merry Christmas and other phrases spoken; the apparent "g" sound is pronounced like a "y". In Greek lettering, it's Καλά Χριστούγεννα. You'll also see it as Kalo christougenna, but kala is correct.
Around the holidays, you will also hear Chronia Polla - "Happy New Year", literally "Many years", 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 - Happy New Year.
Greek has also had an impact on the written abbreviation of Christmas, 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", so it is considered to be a perfectly respectful way of writing Christmas rather than a casual abbreviation.
More on Christmas in Greece:Send a free Greek Orthodox St Nikolaos Or Christmas Card
Find out: Was Santa Greek?
Christmas in Athens, Greece Picture Gallery
See what Christmas on the Greek Island of Antiparos looks like.
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