英国文化 | 为何伊丽莎白女王不说Merry Christmas?


为何英国伊丽莎白女王几十年坚持说Happy Christmas而非Merry Christmas?

在解释这个问题之前,首先让我们来一起回顾下“Merry Christmas”的来历,看看它究竟为什么这么红。

Merry Christmas最早现身是在1565年的一份手稿上,据说是一位海军元帅写在信里的祝福。

为何伊丽莎白女王不说Merry Christmas? Too Low!


狄更斯在《圣诞颂歌》中多次用到Marry Christmas,薄薄一册书用到了将近14次,捧红之心可谓昭然。斗转星移,不管是Merry还是Happy,其实对于多数中国人,乃至于全世界广大人民来说都没有什么太多分别,重要的是火树银花为寒冷冬日带来的温馨,还有最最重要的就是开心。

言归正传,虽然Merry Christmas红遍了大江南北,但是伊丽莎白二世却从不使用Merry Christmas。在每年的圣诞讲话中,女王陛下都会不疾不徐地道一声:Happy Christmas,今年也不例外。为什么呢?

因为Merry的原意是“jovial, and outgoing, probably mildly intoxicated”,就是天性活泼的,可能还有些醉了。说白了,Merry这个单词是个穷苦出身。在维多利亚时期,这个词主要混迹在社会底层,指以酗酒为乐。


在1840年代推出的第一批Merry Christmas贺卡,场景中也是一家人饮酒作乐。所以,Merry Christmas 的本义应该是“圣诞喝到嗨”! 斗转星移,Merry Christmas早已不再是喝酒那点事。但对于那些讲究出身的人士,一身酒气的Merry明显没有健康阳光的Happy看着顺眼。所以,即便Merry Christmas赢得了主流民意,Happy Christmas却依然深得女王的偏爱。所以“超长待机”的女王在每年的圣诞讲话中都会不疾不徐地道一声:

Happy Christmas(而非Merry Christmas)




女王发音非常清晰,语速较慢,而且用词很高贵,很大气。听到女王引用Mother Teresa的名言:Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love,让人不禁想到中国的那句老话“勿以善小而不为”。

1929年4月29日,《时代》周刊封面“公主Lilybet”。“Lilibet”是女王小时候的小名。有传取这个小名是因为女王发不了自己正式名字的读音,不管怎样,这个名字叫起来还蛮可爱的。在成为女王之前,伊丽莎白就是封面女孩了。 3岁时,她就登上了《时代》杂志的封面。


Queen's Christmas message 2016

There was a time when British Olympic medal winners became household names because there were so few of them. But the 67 medals at this year's Games in Rio and 147 at the Paralympics meant that the GB medallists' reception at Buckingham Palace was a crowded and happy event. Throughout the Commonwealth there were equally joyful celebrations. Grenada, the Bahamas, Jamaica and New Zealand won more medals per head of population than any other countries.

Many of this year's winners spoke of being inspired by athletes of previous generations. Inspiration fed their aspiration; and having discovered abilities they scarcely knew they had, these athletes are now inspiring others.

A few months ago, I saw inspiration of a different kind when I opened the new Cambridge base of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, where Prince William works as a helicopter pilot. It was not hard to be moved by the dedication of the highly skilled doctors, paramedics and crew, who are called out on average five times a day.

But to be inspirational you don't have to save lives or win medals. I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organizers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special.

They are an inspiration to those who know them, and their lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Teresa, from this year Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She once said: 'Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love'.

This has been the experience of two remarkable organizations, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and The Prince's Trust, which are 60 and 40 years old this year. These started as small initiatives but have grown beyond any expectations, and continue to transform young people's lives.

To mark my 90th birthday, volunteers and supporters of the six hundred charities of which I have been patron came to a lunch in The Mall. Many of these organizations are modest in size but inspire me with the work they do. From giving friendship and support to our veterans, the elderly or the bereaved; to championing music and dance; providing animal welfare; or protecting our fields and forests, their selfless devotion and generosity of spirit is an example to us all.

When people face a challenge they sometimes talk about taking a deep breath to find courage or strength. In fact, the word 'inspire' literally means 'to breathe in'. But even with the inspiration of others, it's understandable that we sometimes think the world's problems are so big that we can do little to help. On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.

At Christmas, our attention is drawn to the birth of a baby some two thousand years ago. It was the humblest of beginnings, and his parents, Joseph and Mary, did not think they were important.

Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never travelled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ's example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.

The message of Christmas reminds us that inspiration is a gift to be given as well as received, and that love begins small but always grows.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.