comemorate or celebrate

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New member
Dec 25, 2007
Member Type
Student or Learner
I would like to know.
I corrected a friend of my when he said: We commemorate Christmas.
I said no we celebrate Christmas.
He told me that he was right thta commemorate and celebrate is the same.
I am confused now.
Is it the same ?
Or not?


No Longer With Us
Oct 19, 2006
Member Type
We celebrate Christmas, which is a commemoration of Christ's birth.

They are not synonymous.

Celebration = engage in festivities to mark a significant occasion.
Commemorate = honour the memory of as a mark of respect.

David L.

VIP Member
Nov 7, 2007
Member Type
No ...and your friend sounds rather humourless: I can well believe he doesn't celebrate at Christmas!
When we celebrate, we mark a significant, or happy day or event by doing something enjoyable to mark the occasion.
When we commemorate, we recall and show respect for someone or something by holding a ceremony eg wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the war dead.
However, your friend is not commemorating Christmas, but specifically, commemorating the birth of the Christian saviour, at a time of year marked for that which we call Christmas.
With regard to your friend, he would be commemorating Christmas 2007 if he specifically visited Jerusalem to mark the occasion, or he and others were opening a new wing at a children's hospital from money raised by making religiously-themed Christmas cards etc
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