Your Grandmother's Cherokee

Preserving the Cherokee language, one word at a time.

Da ni sda yo hi hv = They were shooting

Ulihelisdi Unadetiyisgv'i -- Merry Christmas

People who grew up speaking Cherokee say “Merry Christmas” several different ways.  This is another phrase that cannot be translated exactly from English to Cherokee.

Some say Tsisa Udetiyisgv’I  which means “It was Jesus’ birthday.” 

Others say Ulihelisdi Unadetiyisgv’i.  To be happy (because) it was their birthday.  June Stamper Smith explains this by saying “their birthday” refers to the Holy Trinity.

The word agwadetiyiha = I am having a birthday. 

Some Cherokee people say Danisdayohihv’i  for Merry Christmas. This word means “They were shooting.”  This used to be the custom on Christmas and New Year’s, shooting off guns on the holiday.  Watch out, reindeer!

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