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. :)


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 Apr 18 '14 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 Apr 18 '14 at 8:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.