Guide

20 Monegasque words to celebrate Christmas

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© Communication Department / Stéphane Danna

How well do you know the Monegasque language? Every month, Monaco Tribune, in partnership with the Académie des Langues Dialectales, gives you a list of words and expressions to boost your vocabulary.

As the Academy of Dialectal Languages reminds us, Christmas is the second most important religious festival for Christians after Easter. In the Middle Ages, 25 December was considered the beginning of the calendar year for a long time. Christmas is the reference point in time: we say “Before Christ”, and “Anno Domini” (Year of our Lord). Our more secular society today prefers non-religious expressions such as ‘before JC’ or ‘after JC’ or even ‘the year 2022 of the common era’!

Christmas is a time of celebration for children … and for shopkeepers! A long time ago, in Monegasque culture, children received an orange on Christmas day, a rare fruit at the time.

  • Cave : spelüga
  • Stable :  stala
  • Nativity scene : presepi
  • Donkey : ase
  • Bull : boe
  • Marie : Maria
  • Joseph : Giausè
  • Baby Jesus : bambin Gesü
  • Shepherd : pastre
  • Angel : angelu
  • Star : stela
  • Christmas bread : pan de Natale. An ancient Monegasque tradition. The “pan de Natale” was a round loaf of bread decorated with a cross made from five walnuts, formerly blessed by the father of the family with an olive branch dipped in wine. This bread would remain on the family table until January, when it would be given to the animals to ward off disease.
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  • Christmas (fir) tree : abeu
  • Garland : ghirlanda
  • Bawble : bula
  • Gift : regalu
  • Presents : strena
  • Happiness : bunür
  • Joy : gioia
  • Family : famiya

SEE ALSO: Send your letter to Santa from Monaco

Please note that in Monegasque, the letter “u” is pronounced [ou] and “ü” is pronounced [u]. Monaco Tribune wishes you a wonderful festive season… Monegasque style!