“Mele Kalikimaka” is a Christmas song sung as a warm greeting from Hawaii. The song takes its title from the phrase “Mele Kalikimaka”, derived from the Hawaiian pronunciation of “Merry Christmas”.
Since Hawaiian does not have all English phonemes, in particular the “R” and “S”, “Merry Christmas” becomes “Mele Kalikimaka” (note the substitution of L’s for R’s, and K’s for S’s). “Mele Kalikimaka” is therefore a transliteration, not a translation of “Merry Christmas”.
The song was written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson who is better known to fans of Hawaiian and hapa haole music as R. Alex Anderson. One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters in 1950 on his White Christmas album.
Mele Kalikimaka everyone!
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.