Celtic Christmas Cards

by JoHarrington

Whether it's Nadolig Llawen or Nollaig Shona Duit, there are Christmas cards to match. It's a beautiful way to convey seasonal greetings to all of your Gaels and Celts.

Ever wanted to say Merry Christmas in Gaelic to an Irish or Scottish friend? Or in Welsh to a Cymraes? How about Cornish, Breton and Manx? Our people do get about!

With seasonal greeting cards, you don't even have to wrap your tongue around our languages yourself. It's already printed there on the card for you to hand over. The sentiment is there; the fear of mispronouncing a double L has gone.

I've scoured the internet to find this collection of wonderful Celtic language Christmas cards. Enjoy!

Brittany: Nedeleg Laouen

Breizh is a Celtic country that can be found on the northern coast of France.

Famous for its festivals, music, cider and the Far Breton pudding (not all unrelated), you know that a good time is had in Breizh!

It's the first place that we point to, when we make the point that not every Celtic country is in the British Isles!  Ancient Amorica, now Bretagne or Britanny, is all the way across the Channel, marking a continental claim for the Celts.

There's some evidence that it was a colony founded by Kenan Meriadoc, who sailed over from Britain.  What is known for sure is that, as the Anglo-Saxons streamed across southern Britain, some displaced refugees fled across the Channel.  They are Bretons now.

Do you know a lovely Breizhiz?  This Christmas you can tell them Nedeleg Laouen in a festive greeting card.

Breton Christmas Cards

What is Merry Christmas in Breton?

Nedeleg Laouen = Merry Christmas

Bloavezh Mat = Happy New Year

Nedeleg Laouen na Bloavezh Mat = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

How do you pronounce Merry Christmas in Breton?

Ne-dee-leg low-wen = Merry Christmas

Blow-ves mat = Happy New Year

Ne-dee-leg low-wen nah blow-ves mat = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Hear Merry Christmas in Breton pronounced on Forvo, and Happy New Year in Breton on the same site.

Breton Carol (Péh Trouz Zou ar en Doar?)

Scroll down for the lyrics to Breton Carol in Breton and in English.

Lyrics in Breton

Péh trouz zou ar en doar?

Péh kan a gleúan me?

Na kaeret er boehieú e za lein eun né

Eled, lavaret d’emb eit petra e kannet?

Peneú éted ar zé e zou arriú er bed?

Arnet eúe genemb kannet pobl ag en doar?

Ewan de laret d’ho eun né úèted hemb par

Eur mabig beniget roué a Jerusalem

E zo gannet eit-ho ér gér a Vethléem

Lyrics in English

What is this noise on earth?

What is the song I hear?

Beautiful voices filling the sky!

Angels, tell us: why are you singing?

What is new in the world?

Sing with us, sing, people of the earth

We tell you news with no comparison:

A holy little son, King of Jerusalem,

Is born in the town of Bethlehem.

Nedeleg Laouen: Breton Christmas Charms and Cufflinks

Cornwall: Nadelik Lowen

Kernow is the Celtic country at the very south-west of the British mainland. It's on a peninsula pointing out into the Celtic Sea.

Famous for pasties, surfing, tin-mining and tourism, when the Cornish export something, you know it's been exported.

Never heard of them?  I warrant that you have spotted their influence.  St Patrick (of parades in New York and patron saint of Ireland fame) was a Cornishman.  It was Cornish miners who introduced football into Mexico.  In 2012, Britain was practically in an uprising, because the government attempted to put a tax on Cornish pasties.  It backed down.

So yes, Cornwall may be tiny - and may have come under even more pressure than even the rest of the Celtic countries to become English - but it certainly makes its presence felt!

Do you know any of the beautiful Kernewek?  This Christmas wish them a Nadelik Lowen with your Cornish greeting card.

Cornish Christmas Cards

What is Merry Christmas in Cornish?

Nadelik Lowen = Merry Christmas 

There is an alternative spelling of Nadelik Looan.

Blydhen Nowydh Da = Happy New Year

And an alternative spelling of Looan Bethen Noweth.

Nadelik Lowen ha Blydhen Nowydh Da = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Most of the available cards appear to favor the alternative spelling, but my Cornish dictionary and a couple of internet sources are with the highlighted version.

How do you pronounce Merry Christmas in Cornish?

Nad-dell-lick low-wen = Merry Christmas

blith-en no-width da = Happy New Year

I hesitated over the 'd', as it's not really there. I went to write 'with', but that's already a word in English and would be wrong. It's pronounced exactly like the measurement 'width'. Maybe 'wyth' might be better.

Nad-dell-lick low-wen a blith-en no-width da = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

You can hear these phrases and more spoken at Cornish Language Online.

More Cornish Articles

The national flag of Cornwall also belongs to St Piran. But what are those colors and who, indeed, was this patron saint?
The sun, sea, sand, and surf coastal town of Newquay in Cornwall has another side and a history of a close knit fishing community.

Ireland: Nollaig Shona Dhuit

Ireland is the most westerly country in Europe. It's the large island to the left of the British mainland.

Famous for great parties, ferocious self-preservation, Guinness, U2 and Liam Neeson, not to mention St Patrick's Day and the whole saving Christianity after the fall of Rome thing. I doubt that the Irish need any introduction.  The Celtic tiger has roared across the entire known world! 

These Gaelic people were the first Celtic people to colonize the British Isles after the thawing of the Ice Age.  They sailed up from Ibernia (think Spain and Portugal) and made homes all along the coast of the Irish Sea. 

The Scotti came from Ireland by the way.  The original Scots were Pictish, so there is a strong argument that Scotland is actually an ancient Irish colony.  But not one which I'd wish to make in a pub in Glasgow.

Know any gorgeous Irish Gaels?  Wish them a Nollaig Shona Dhuit in your Christmas greeting card this year.

Eire Christmas Cards

Christmas greetings in the Irish language.

What is Merry Christmas in Irish Gaelic?

In truth, it depends who you're talking to:

Nollaig Shona Dhuit = Merry Christmas (one person)

Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh = Merry Christmas (multiple people)

By multiple, I mean two or more.

Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Dhuit = Happy New Year

Nollaig Shona Dhuit agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Dhuit = Merry Christmas and a happy new year.  (Swop Dhuit for Dhaoibh if you're saying it to more than one person.)

How do you pronounce Merry Christmas in Irish Gaelic?

No-lig ho-nah witch = Merry Christmas (singular)

That last word has a kind of 'h' sound at the beginning of it, like a soft hwich.  I've searched the internet for inspiration and found everything from 'ghwich' through to 'ditch' trying to cover it. There are further complications in that there are different accents depending on where you are in Ireland!

As a case in point, my pronunciation above was more Connaught; a friend from Cork just phonetically rendered it as: no-lag ho-na dit

No-lig ho-nah jeev = Merry Christmas (plural)

Av-leen foee Vah-sha-dut = Happy New Year.

You can hear these phrases and more spoken at Irish Gaelic Translator.com.

Nollaig Shona Dhuit Christmas Card

Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh Christmas Card

Irish Christmas Cards in Gaelic

The Irish Gaelic Christmas message is inside some of these festive Celtic cards.

Wizzley Articles about Ireland

Do you or your ancestors hail from the Emerald Isle? Then add a little nod to your Celtic heritage on your Christmas tree this year. Check out these Irish Yule ornaments.
What might have been the response of the Irish, if Guido Faukes had successfully exploded the House of Lords in 1605?
Between 1845-1851, nine million Irish people starved. At the same time, food was being shipped out of the country into England. It was enough to have fed eighteen million people.
Originating from Galway, in Ireland, Claddagh rings were historically worn by men. They were clues towards love and friendship (and politics).

Isle of Man: Nollick Ghennal

Ellan Vannin is a Celtic country, which is located on an island in the middle of the Irish Sea.

Famous for tail-less cats, the Bee Gees, motorbike racing and Geraldine Somerville (that's Lily Potter, mother of Harry, for most of us), the good people of the Isle of Man have made their mark on global culture.

While fundamentally Gaelic Celts, the Vikings did bump their long-ships along that coast too.  The poor Manx started off as Brythonic Celts (same as the Bretons, Cornish and Welsh), but got taken over by the Irish Gaels, invaded by the Norse, then ruled by Scotland, before the English slapped their crown onto the passports.

That's what you get for being a tiny island nation in the middle of the Irish Sea.

In fact, it seems that the only ones to leave the sweet Vanninnagh alone are Amazon and Zazzle! At least insofar as Manx Gailck greeting cards are involved.

Manx Gaelic Christmas Card

Which was the case until I became creative in GIMP and produced the card above! I couldn't leave my Celtic brothers and sisters unrepresented in those places.  Y croeso, Vanninnagh.

In addition, Greetings Cards Universe has three seasonal cards to say Happy Christmas in Manx Gaelic.

Manx Christmas Carol: Oikan Ayns Bethlehem

Unfortunately I have no lyrics for it, nor any Manx Gailck to translate it. But it's a Christmas carol about Bethlehem, I warrant the Nativity gets a mention.

What is Merry Christmas in Manx Gaelic?

Nollick Ghennal = Merry Christmas

Blein Vie Noa = Happy New Year

Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

How do you pronounce Merry Christmas in Manx Gaelic?

 Noll-ick ghenn-ul = Merry Christmas 

The 'g' in ghennal is found in the back of your throat.  It's not a sound which is found in English at all. I really don't know how to reproduce it phonetically; but you're not going to be kicked out of any establishment in Douglas for not getting it precisely right.

Blen vy noah = Happy New Year

Noll-ick genn-ul as Blen vy noah = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Unfortunately it appears that not a single Vanninnagh has recorded their Christmas greeting and put it onto the internet.  Everyone please glare in the general direction of Man, until one of them buys a microphone.

Nollick Ghennal Christmas Decorations Manx

Nollick Ghennal: Manx Christmas Charms and Cufflinks

Scotland: Nollaig Chridheil

Alba is the northern-most Celtic country on the British mainland.

Famous for whisky, Highlanders in kilts, tartan, Sean Connery, Maggie Smith and the Proclaimers, the Scottish also invented just about every useful thing in the 20th century (barring the internet).

They are responsible for the airplanes in the sky, bicycle in your hallway, the tyres on your car, the phone in your hand, the television in your living room and the macadamisation on your roads. But not Tarmac.  It's a common misconception that Tarmac has anything to do with the Gaels.  It was invented by a Welshman.

Do you know any great Scottish Gaels?  Then wish them a Nollaig Chridheil with your Christmas greeting card.

Scottish Chistmas Cards in Gaelic

What is Merry Christmas in Scottish Gaelic?

Nollaig Chridheil = Merry Christmas

Bliadhna Mhath Ur = Happy New Year

Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

How do you pronounce Merry Christmas in Scottish Gaelic?

Noll-leg Chree-yell = Merry Christmas

Blee-hanna var uwr = Happy New Year

That last word is hard to render.  I've just spoken it to an English friend, who said it sounds like a cat purring, without the p.  The difference between prrrr and urrrr is 'ur'.  Just go with 'ooo' and roll your r at the end, no-one will cry too much in Edinburgh. (Though you may hear a sob in the Hebrides.)

Noll-leg Chree-yell ugus blee-hanna var uwr = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Alba Christmas Cards

Christmas greetings in the Scottish language.

Articles about Scotland on Wizzley

There's an auld song that keeps on being played across the waters, wherever the Scots found their clans. Remember your roots with some Scottish Christmas ornaments.
Would you like to decorate your home with Jamie Fraser? Aye, you would. Dinna fash, Jamie and Claire Christmas ornaments can be found right here.
November 30th is celebrated by Scots throughout the world as St Andrew's Day; but what's the story behind a Byzantium saint coming to Scotland?
On April 16th 1746, the last pitched battle on British land took place on Drummossie Moor. Up to 2000 Jacobites lay dead, or injured and dying, in the heather. It was never over.

Wales: Nadolig Llawen

Cymru is the Celtic country which bulges out, on the western central coast, of the British mainland.

Famous for male voice choirs, Katherine Jenkins, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and the Manic Street Preachers, the Welsh have a deserved reputation as living in the Land of Song.

However, we also gave the world the Arthurian legends, Bertrand Russell, love spoons, the poetry of Dylan Thomas and Taliesin, and meteorology.  Oh! And X-Rays.  And Tarmac.

Wales is a beautiful country.  My lot are all from the south and east - the parts which gave the Romans, then the Saxons all of that trouble.  (Bless the poor Romans, they ended up having to build a whole port down in Caerleon, just to try and tame the Silurians.  Tra-la-la.)  But the rest of the country is stunning too.

I defy anyone to wander through the Llanberis Pass without a look of sheer wonder on their faces.

Do you know any cute Cymry?  Then wish me a Nadolig Llawen in your Christmas card this year!

Welsh Christmas Cards

Cymry Christmas Cards

Christmas greetings in the Welsh language.

What is Merry Christmas in Welsh?

Nadolig Llawen = Merry Christmas

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda = Happy New Year

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

How do you pronounce Merry Christmas in Welsh?

There is nothing better guaranteed to frighten an English speaker than 'Ll' and 'Dd' in Welsh. Yippee!  We have them both amply represented here.

Ll = Put the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth. Now just breathe. That is the sound for 'll'.  You don't have to even attempt a sound.  Just breathe. That's all it is.

Dd = Say 'th'.  It's the same 'th' as at the beginning of 'the'.  In fact, say 'the'!  You've got it!  Yay!

Na-dol-lig Ll-ow-wen = Merry Christmas

Bloo-width-then New-width Tha = Happy New Year

See the notes for the same 'wyth' sound in the Cornish version.  They're practically the same language, hence I ran into the same difficulty in rendering the sound. 

Na-dol-lig Ll-ow-wen ah bloo-width-then new-width tha = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Articles about Wales on Wizzley

Does Christmas mean taffy and a visit from Sion Corn in your home? Then indulge that hiraeth by picking out some Celtic Christmas ornaments from Wales.
The story behind 'Land of my Fathers' ('Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau') is one of poetry, bardic awen and the refusal to lay down and play dead.
Grab a daffodil or a leek and boil up some cawl! March 1st is St David's Day and all of Wales will be partying.
Feeling a little Welsh today? Check out these ideas for outfits which invoke the national pride of Wales.
Updated: 11/24/2014, JoHarrington
 
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JoHarrington on 11/13/2013

Diolch yn fawr! (Thank you very much, in Welsh)

Ember on 11/13/2013

These are really pretty, you've done a lovely job putting these cards together. :)

JoHarrington on 12/15/2012

Thank you very much, Barb! And I do hope so.

BarbRad on 12/14/2012

This is beautifully laid out. I'm sure anyone needing Celtic cards would not leave empty-handed.

JoHarrington on 12/10/2012

Nedeleg Laouen to you too. :)

kate on 12/10/2012

Thank you and Nedeleg Laouen

JoHarrington on 12/10/2012

Nadolig llawen, cariad fi. <3

EMK Events Ltd on 12/10/2012

Nadolig llawen, Jo.

JoHarrington on 12/03/2012

I was listening and they sounded close enough to me! Ok, maybe a bit shaky in Scottish Gaelic, but frankly the Albanach shouldn't have 'oor' sounds at the end. :p

Paul on 12/03/2012

Was fun sounding like a muppet trying to pronounce all these foreign words considering I speak absolutely nothing other than English! :)

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