Unlike Christmas shopping, it doesn't cost much to spread the kind of Christmas cheer that a "Nollaig Shona dhíbh!" can bring to your friends and family. And if they don't understand you at first, wishing them Christmas greetings in Gaelic can be the start of some good conversation on the topic of Irish heritage and the holiday season.
Here's a little lesson in Gaelic greetings for you (with generous thanks to the Irish Culture & Customs webpage Bunús na Gaeilge - Basic Irish Language):
Christmas is Nollaig, pronounced "null-ahg".
If you want to wish a happy Christmas to another person, you can say: Nollaig Shona dhuit, pronounced "null-ig hun-ah gwich".
A similar Christmas greeting to more than one person would be: Nollaig Shona dhíbh, pronounced "null-ig hun-ah yeev".
If (surprise of surprises!) someone wishes you Nollaig Shona dhuit, an appropriate way to say, "And to you..." would be: Go mba hé duit, pronounced, "guh mah hay gwich".
Bhfuil an siopadóireacht le h-aghaidh bronnantanais na Nollaig críochnaithe agat go fóill? (That was "Have you finished all your shopping for Christmas presents yet?" pronounced "Will shup-ah-dhoh-ir-ukth leh heye brun-than-ish nah null-ig cree-ukh-knee-heh ah-guth guh foh-il?") If not, the time is now.
If you have finished all your shopping and perhaps other Christmas preparations, then you might want to take some time to work on your Gaelic. Here are a few good resources to get you started:
- Foras na Gaeilge's webpage on learning Gaelic
- Daltaí na Gaeilge teachers list of Gaelic courses
- Even a page on computer terms in Irish Gaelic
Who knows, maybe it will increase your chances of seeing a little more luck of the Irish in the new year ahead.
Don't forget to check the Irish Culture & Customs webpage for a nice lexicon of Irish Gaelic holiday words and greetings.
Image courtesy of O'Brien's Irish Cottage.
This article is part of a series written in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons. It will be included as part of the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009 Day 17: Grab Bag. Make a visit to Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers website for some additional inspiration to get yourself in the holiday spirit!
The article originally appeared here at Small-leaved Shamrock and was included in Thomas MacEntee's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2007.