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See also: Crãciun


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The etymology has been highly disputed, it is unclear whether the word is of Latin or of Slavic origin.

Many scholars propose one of several possible Latin derivations, either from calātiōnem (calling, summoning), or from Latin creātiōnem (accusative of creātiō (creation, creature), with the meaning derived from that of the creation or birth of a child, e.g. Jesus' birth on Christmas. Compare the archaic meaning of Spanish criazón (person or child living in a house under the authority of another), of the same origin (see crío and criar); compare also Sardinian criatzione (creation; creature, child) and Neapolitan criatura (child). The Romanian word had an older, archaic meaning of “birth” in church or religious usage, and is also used for the holy image of Christ's birth. Other less frequently endorsed Latin etymologies include: Latin Christī (Christ's) followed by an uncertain second root, such as iēiūnium (fast); compare Albanian Kërshëndella, from Christī nātāle (Christ's birth), or Latin (in)carnatiōnem (incarnation), crastinum (tomorrow, the morrow). See also the Romanian suffix -ciune.[1]

However, beside Aromanian Crãciun, there is a clearly related Slavic word, dialectal Bulgarian and Macedonian Крачу́н (Kračún, winter solstice, Christmas), and Slovak Kračún (winter solstice, Christmas), also passed into Hungarian karácsony (Christmas). A genuine Slavic etymology would be Proto-Slavic *korčiti (to step, said of the sun “stepping forth” after winter solstice), indicating that the Romanian word is a Bulgarian loan. However, since the word is mostly found in South Slavic (Balkan) languages or in ones that have had contact with Romanian (such as Ruthenian), there is the possibility it was absorbed from proto-Romanian speakers instead. Another, somewhat unlikely, proposition is that it is a paleo-Balkan substratum term related to Albanian kercu (piece of wood), stemming from the pre-Christian tradition of placing branches at houses on the winter solstice or on the Roman festival of Sol Invictus, which took place on the date that later became Christmas (cf. also Italian ceppo (di Natale) (Christmas log)).


  • IPA(key): /krəˈtʃjun/, [krəˈt͡ʃun]
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Proper noun[edit]

Crăciun n (plural Crăciunuri)

  1. Christmas


Derived terms[edit]

Proper noun[edit]

Crăciun m or f (genitive/dative lui Crăciun)

  1. a surname


  1. ^ Crăciun in DEX online—Dicționare ale limbii române (Dictionaries of the Romanian language)