We generally wish people on festival putting a simple-yet-convincing word happy. Surprisingly, in India, anything can be wished putting 'happy' before any word that brings a holiday in your office ;)

The question came to my mind when today I heard Happy Good Friday by a non-native speaker. I am more shocked than surprised. I'm pretty sure happy does not go with any such day/celebration(?)/event.

Though I read Wikipedia for both those days I'm not sure whether it's a celebration or showing our condolence to those respected personalities. Also, though there's good (adj) in Good Friday (noun phrase) it was the day of grief, wasn't it? I cannot say Happy [Good Friday].

Is it proper to wish Halloween or Good Friday? If yes, I'm not sure using happy there. And yes, my dear native speakers are most welcomed. :)

1 Answer 1


I would say it depends on the type of event/celebration:

  • "Happy Christmas/Thanksgiving" is used because traditionally we meet up with our families (which is supposed to be a happy thing), etc etc (plus Christmas is a happy religious holiday)

  • "Happy Halloween" is acceptable, because for children it's full of candy, dressing up, etc

  • "Happy Good Friday" doesn't make sense, because Good Friday is a religious holiday full of penitence, fasting and so on, as it's in remembrance of the day Jesus Christ died on the cross); as such, wishing somebody a happy Good Friday would, at best, just sound weird, and at worst be utterly blasphemous

  • "Happy Easter", conversely, does make sense, because while it is a religious holiday and it is naturally closely linked to Good Friday, it's in remembrance of the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead - that is, a happy occasion.

  • (A separate question is why "Good Friday" is called "Good" in the first place, especially since it's not the case in many other languages...)
    – Alicja Z
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 8:18
  • That's what I initially thought! But then added Halloween to cover as many events as possible. But thanks for this input as it provoked me to put that question.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 8:43

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