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How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian

How to Say Merry Christmas in Indonesian

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian? IndonesianPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Indonesian Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Indonesian speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, IndonesianPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Indonesia
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How IndonesianPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Indonesia

Christmas Words in Indonesian

Christmas, or the birthday of Jesus Christ, is celebrated on December 25 in almost all parts of the world, including Indonesia. The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the house, pilgrimages to ancestral graves, and visiting family are all traditions commonly observed by Christians all over Indonesia.

Let’s talk about the massive Christmas celebrations in the province with a Christian-majority population. The North Sulawesi province.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-

What percentage of the Indonesian population celebrates Christmas?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep reading.

During the month of December, the government of Manado City in North Sulawesi holds a Christmas safari, or Safari Natal. During the Christmas safari, they visit different cities to have meet-and-greet events and worship with members of the community. As preparation for Christmas, residents of Manado also parade through the city and carry out the tradition of visiting family graves, in Indonesian called ziarah, in which family graves are cleaned and decorated with Christmas lights. Christmas festivities end in the first week of January with the Kunci Taon tradition, in which people parade around town wearing funny, socially themed costumes, or in Indonesian, kostum.

In South Sulawesi, in the area of Toraja, local authorities hold Lovely December, an annual festival of culture and tourism. The event starts at the beginning of December and is characterized by the slaughter of spotted buffalo, or kerbau. This series of festivals includes a carnival, a Christmas bazaar, buffalo contests, artistic performances, exhibitions, handicrafts, and culinary exhibitions. The festival culminates on December 26 with a procession called lettoan, a parade contest of pigs dressed with Toraja Tribe cultural symbols.

In Kampung Tugu, an area located in Jakarta, the locals perform Rabo-rabo, a tradition passed down from soldiers of Portuguese descent who settled in Jakarta. Not exactly on Christmas Day, but right at the beginning of the year, residents will visit homes singing songs in keroncong, a music genre that originates from Portuguese music. The songs sung are Christmas songs, but what is unique is that those who are visited will usually join in the singing and accompany the singers to the next house.

Sending parcels, or hantaran, is a tradition of the Indonesian people in times of celebration. During the time of Eid, Muslims traditionally send diamond-shaped packed rice to neighbors. Around Christmas time, Christians return the gift by sending parcels in the form of pastries.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

What percentage of the Indonesian population celebrates Christmas?

Around ten percent of Indonesia’s population is Christian. Thus, there are only a few places that hold big celebrations.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

Selamat hari Natal!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

Selamat Kwanzaa!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Selamat Tahun Baru, semoga bahagia selalu!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

Selamat Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Selamat berliburan musim dingin!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

Sampai jumpa tahun depan!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

Salam hangat!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Indonesian Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

Selamat liburan!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Indonesian, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

Nikmatilah liburan!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Indonesian, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

Semoga sukses di tahun yang baru!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Indonesian! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At IndonesianPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Hari Natal

This is the Indonesian word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Indonesian will include this word!

2- Snow

salju

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

bunga salju

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

manusia salju

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

kalkun

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

rangkaian bunga bundar

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

rusa kutub

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Sinterklas

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

peri

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph si rusa kutub berhidung merah

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Kutub Utara

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

kereta luncur

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

hadiah

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

lonceng

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

cerobong asap

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

perapian

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Hari Natal

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

hiasan

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

stoking

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

holly

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

rumah gingerbread

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

permen tongkat

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

mistletoe

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Indonesian, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Indonesian! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

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(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

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(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

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(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

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(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

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(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

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    Hello Listener,

    We’re one day away from Thanksgiving, our favorite American holiday of the year! In the spirit of the holiday, we’re giving you three Thanksgiving gifts: a FREE video lesson that will teach you to say “Thank You” in 31 languages, a Thanksgiving Vocab Lesson and 30% OFF ALL of our subscriptions so you can learn MORE Indonesian for LESS! Keep reading to learn more!

    Inside this month’s newsletter:

    1. Last Chance! Learn Indonesian with 30% Savings. Up to $72% OFF!
    2. Free Video Lesson! 31 Ways to Say “Thank You” for Thanksgiving
    3. Free Thanksgiving Vocab Lesson for Indonesian Learners


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    Happy (upcoming) Thanksgiving,
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    P.S. Final Day! Get 30% OFF, Learn Indonesian with Our Fast, Easy Lessons!
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    We're Giving Thanks: Indonesian Lessons for just $2.80/Month & a FREE Video Lesson!

    Hi there Listener,

    If you ask us what we’re thankful for, it’s people like you. People who choose to learn Indonesian. People who know they will master Indonesian because it’s just a matter of time. These are the ones who truly do learn the language.

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    31 Ways To Say Thank You!

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    (Discounted prices ONLY available during the Thank You Sale)

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    • 2,000 Must-Know Words List: All the Indonesian words you need for conversational fluency. Use this with Flashcards and the Word Bank.
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    Ready? Here’s how you sign up and claim this discount:

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    To your fluency!

    Team IndonesianPod101

    P.S. Take the final step to realizing your dream of learning Indonesian during our Thank You Sale and lock in your 30% instant savings – you can keep the free video lesson even if you decide to cancel and get a refund later. You have absolutely nothing to lose, so act now!

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