But what about the rest of the islands, you say? I don’t have a Bing Crosby song for each translation. However I can still be your own little dictionary for Christmas greetings in the dominant Polynesian languages.
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Samoan: Manuia le Kirisimasi
Tongan: Kilisimasi Fiefia
Tahitian: ‘ia ‘oa’oa i te Noera
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Fijian: Marau na Kerisimasi
During colonization each culture adapted the new words and meanings into their own language. The French Joyeux Noel influenced the Tahitian greeting. With the exception of Tahitian you can hear a variation of Christmas in each of the translations.
Finally, a general word of note on pronunciation. Vowels are what we would consider short vowels and there are no silent letters. While you may lack a little in ease and accent, you’re better off sounding out Polynesian words than words in pretty much any other language. So give it a try!
This post is part of our month-long exploration into Polynesian Christmas traditions and inspirations. See the whole collection of activities and discoveries here.