A Christmas Greeting in Chabacano

In the Spanish-speaking world, the popular greeting during Christmas time is feliz navidad. There's even a popular Christmas song with this title. In the Chabacano-speaking world, however, the more common greeting is felices pascuas as shown below in a Facebook greeting by the present mayor of Zamboanga city in her Facebook page. Owing to the fact however that some Chabacano speakers tend not to pronounce the letter 's', this gets spelled as Felices Pascua at times, as is the case in the greeting below.

Source: Facebook page of the mayor

This also happens with feliz cumpleanos. In Chabacano, people tend to say feliz cumpleano, without the 's' at the end.

Now if you are wondering why we say felices pascuas instead of feliz navidad in Chabacano, here is a possible explanation.

In case you haven't noticed, there's a tiny inscription in the photo that reads vaya con dios. This is the mayor's sort-of slogan which literally means 'go with god'.

By the way, in case you are wondering, felices pascuas in Spanish-speaking countries usually means 'happy easter'.

Finally, let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads this blog, shares it, and most especially those who frequently comment on my articles. You are the reason why this blog exists. Felices pascuas con vosotros!


  1. In Portuguese it's almost the same, feliz páscoa. I find quite interesting the way to say "feliz cumpleano". It looks like similar as in Portuguese, feliz aniversário. Maybe is it a thing (influence) from my language or just a coincidence (even with the different ways to write it in Spanish)?

    Felices pascuas (Feliz Natal) para usted, amigo! =)

    1. It only explain the influence of Portuguese Language to our language.

  2. Hola, Jerome!

    Regarding the origin of the expression FELICES PASCUAS for Merry Christmas, the word PASCUA actually refers to the Passover feast of the Jews. When Christianity became an official religion, Christians don't celebrate the Feast of the Passover like the Jews do. So, in a similar way, they made a Christian counterpart of this Jewish tradition. Since the very essence of the Christian faith is God's plan of salvation through the incarnation of His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, there are two fundamental events that gave meaning to our Christian faith, namely, the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Resurrection from the dead. Thus, both qualify to be the two "Passover" feasts among us Christians. When the Spaniards translated the word Passover, they used PASCUA. Since both the birth and the resurrection of Jesus Christ are PASCUAS, the expressions DE NAVIDAD (derived from NATIVIDAD which means birth of Jesus) and DE RESURRECCION are added to PASCUA to specify which PASCUA it is as well as to distinguish one from the other.

    When used in the greeting, FELICES PASCUAS is applicable to both Christmas and Easter. The old-generation Spanish-speaking Filipinos are more likely to use FELICES PASCUAS even for Christmas, like the neighbor we used to have before. NAVIDAD, on the other hand, is actually a coined term for Christmas in order not to confuse it with PASCUA which more associated with Easter. From there came the greeting FELIZ NAVIDAD for Merry Christmas.

    After all, it is just a matter of choice as to the use of FELICES PASCUAS or FELIZ NAVIDAD in the context of the Yuletide season. Either ways, it does not make any difference because if someone uses FELICES PASCUAS during the Christmas season, it is understood right away that what he/she means is Merry Christmas. On the other hand, if he/she uses it during Eastertime, it is understood to be Happy Easter.

    Muchas gracias a ti. ¡Felices Pascuas/Feliz Navidad y Prosperidades!

    César Jr.

  3. Pues, en España se usa el plural (¡Felices Pascuas!) para referirse a la Navidad.y el singular (¡Feliz Pascua!) para referirse al domingo de Resurrección/Pascua/Semana Santa.

    Na ciudad de Cavite, ya oí yo...."¡Felices Pascua!" para Maligayang Paskô!


    1. Thanks for the information JPS. Very fascinating stuff!