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The Maritime Provinces of Canada are part of what is the ancestral homeland of the Mi’k Maq people. CBC PEI interviewed Elder Bernie Francis who was raised in Membertou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and asked him how do you say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in the Mi’k Maq language. Elder Francis is a linguist and he explained how it came about. The two holidays are foreign to the Mi’k Maq people and in living alongside French Acadian settlers they came in contact with the celebration of Christmas and New Year. They simply used their own words to do a simple translation into their language.

Per example seeing Midnight Mass, the Mi’k Maq of Nova Scotia will say Etawey Wli Nipi Alasutman or Happy Midnight Prayer, while their cousins in New Brunswick will say Wli Newelewin based on the French saying of Joyeux Noël.

As for New Year seeing the French say to them Bonjour, Bonne Année and extending their hand to shake the Mi’k Maq simply translated it into  Pusu’l Punane. The Mi’k Maq are all around us here in the Maritime Provinces and their ancient history mixed in with the Acadians in the 17th Century.

A fun fact to learn.