Mele Kalikimaka

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"Mele Kalikimaka" is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The song takes its title from the Hawaiian phrase, "Mele Kalikimaka", meaning "Merry Christmas".[1] The phrase is borrowed directly from English but since Hawaiian has a different phonological system—Hawaiian does not have the /r/ or /s/ of English and its phonotactic constraints do not permit consonants at the end of syllables or consonant clusters—"Merry Christmas" becomes "Mele Kalikimaka".[2] One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters in 1950 on Decca 27228 (78 rpm) / 9-27228 (45 rpm) and it has been covered by many artists. The song is notably featured in the films L.A. Confidential and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

The Beach Boys recorded a song of the same name for their album Ultimate Christmas, but it contains lyrics and music completely different from the song written by Robert Alex Anderson.

Notable versions[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Elbert, S. & Pukui, M.; Hawaiian Dictionary, page 481
  2. ^ Golston, Chris; Yang, Phong (2001), "White Hmong loanword phonology", in Féry, A.D. Green; van de Vijver, R., Proceedings of HILP, 5, University of Potsdam: Potsdam, pp. 40–57