3 Basic Malay Christmas Greetings You Must Know

How do people celebrate the new year and wish Merry Christmas in Malaysia? Selamat Hari Natal and Selamat Hari Krismas! – These two are the basic Malay Christmas greetings used in Malaysia. Before we dive right into the topic, here are some best tips you can try to speak Malay quickly, introduce yourself in Malay and say Happy New Year in Malay! Now, keep your screen time going to find out how these expressions work in a sentence and in the Malay spoken context during Christmas!

Malay Christmas Greetings: Christmas Eve In Malaysia

Like any other country, the Christmas festival is celebrated by Christians in Malaysia on the 25th of December every year. It’s a day of remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. Since Malaysia is a tropical country, it will never snow on Christmas Day in this Southeast Asian country, but that doesn’t make Christmas less jolly and merry.

In Malaysia, the Christmas festival is vastly acknowledged by all. If Christmas Eve is just around the corner, you’ll see a lot of dazzling festive decorations are set up especially in the local shopping malls. As a native Malaysian myself, though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I do admit the best time to go to shopping malls is during Christmas! Like me, most Malaysians will flock to the malls (especially in Klang Valley) whenever Christmas is nearby – no one would want to miss out on witnessing the gigantic, flashy Christmas trees and different-sized Santas, snowman, gnomes, deers, candy canes and so much more!

It’s the time where everyone typically gathers with their family and wishes Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. If you wonder how Christmas is celebrated in Malaysia, well, it’s pretty much the same as yours. The basic program includes a family gathering, gift-giving, singing, Christmas carol, church events, and prayer.

If you want to know the current outlook on Christmas festivals in Malaysia, I’m going to say it doesn’t look good due to the pandemic outbreak. In 2020, Christmas was still celebrated – festive decorations were put up and church events were allowed (with a controlled number of attendees). Open houses and caroling, however, were not allowed. Still, many of the local non-Christians respect and acknowledges the Christmas celebrations. This prompts them to say Merry Christmas to their Christian friends during Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas Wishes In The Malay Language

Christmas would never be complete without the Christmas greetings and wishes. How do the locals greet their friends on Christmas in Malaysia? Selamat Hari Krismas!

1) Selamat Hari Krismas

This is the most common Christmas greeting we say in Malaysia. Let’s see the translations for each word of this greeting:

Selamat = Happy/Merry

Hari = Day

Krismas = Christmas

From the translations, you can already see how it’s basically direct and straightforward. Try celebrating your Christmas once in Malaysia. The locals will mostly express their Christmas wishes and say Selamat Hari Krismas!

This greeting surpasses any kind of formality in Malay spoken language. So, feel free to say it to anyone (who are Christians and celebrates Christmas). Here are a few examples of how this Christmas greeting is typically used in Malaysia along with its English translations:

Hai John, Selamat Hari Krismas! = Hi John, Happy Christmas!

Kehadapan Elsa, saya ingin mengucapkan Selamat Hari Krismas! Semoga awak bahagia disisi keluarga dan kawan-kawan = Dear Elsa, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas! I hope you are happy with your family and friends.

2) Selamat Hari Natal

A Christmas wish by the former education minister in Malaysia.

Selamat Hari Natal is one of the common Christmas wishes practiced in Malaysia. In the Malay spoken context, this phrase exactly means Merry Christmas too. Most of the time, the local ministers convey their Christmas wishes to the citizens of Malaysia by using this phrase. Most of the native Malay speakers do not use this expression – just because it doesn’t sound casual. Still, you can freely use Selamat Hari Krismas and Selamat Hari Natal interchangeably; there is nothing wrong with that.

3) Selamat Menyambut Hari Natal

This is an extended version of the phrase before. As you can see, there is an additional word in this greeting, which is menyambut. Menyambut in the Malay language means celebrating. If we were to translate the phrase literally to English, it will become Happy celebrating Christmas – which simply means Merry Christmas! Still, you can see this one used a lot in formal wishes and greetings.

Other Christmas-related Phrases And Greetings In Malay

  1. Ucapan Selamat Hari Krismas – Happy Christmas Speech
  2. Selamat Menyambut Perayaan Krismas – Merry Christmas (formal tone)
  3. Sambutan Krismas – Christmas celebration
  4. Perayaan Krismas – Christmas festival/celebration
  5. Parti Krismas – Christmas Party
  6. Pokok Krismas – Christmas tree
  7. Sejarah Hari Krismas – Christmas Day history
  8. Rumah terbuka – open house
  9. Upacara nyanyian karol – carol singing ceremony
  10. Cuti umum Krismas – Christmas public holiday

Learn More Basic Expressions In The Malay Language

Altogether, you can see how Malaysians celebrate Christmas in their country. Since the citizens of Malaysia are not entirely Christians, they still have the ho-ho spirit inside them – non-Christians are usually happy and excited about the mesmerizing festive decorations and it has been a common practice to convey Christmas wishes to any Christians friends. In Malaysia, Selamat Hari Krismas and Merry Xmas are often said by non-Christians too and that is not a strange scene to behold.

If you have plans to visit Malaysia in 2021 (which may seem quite impossible today due to the outbreak), do not worry. You can always send a message to say your wishes and greetings to your friends and acquaintances in Malaysia – Selamat Hari Krismas!

Learn more basic phrases and expressions in Malay by getting yourselves Ling App. This interactive application prepares you with all the necessary input you need to know in acquiring a new language. It is most convenient if you’ve mastered English since most translations are in that language. What other languages do you get to learn in Ling? There are currently more than 60 languages to be learned and mastered! Download Ling App today and see how much you can progress in your pursuit to acquire different languages.

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