The index of happiness in the UK
15 January 2011
We’ve been hearing everywhere, for the last month: Crăciun fericit! An nou fericit! Or: Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! But, I wonder, to what extent do these expressions translate the same wish – in other words, do “fericit” and “happy” mean one and the same thing? Do the British feel happiness in the same way we do? Or does happiness feel different for them? There are in fact two aspects of this question. The first one is: what does “happy holidays” mean for different nations? The second one is: can we extrapolate this meaning of happiness (attributed to festive times) for the notion of happiness in general? In other words, when someone says, “I’m happy,” “such and such news made me happy,” or “my children lead a happy life in such and such place,” does this person attempt to communicate the same kind of feeling or state as the one we associate with the holidays?