From Middle High German wīhenahten (12th century), a dative plural form ze wīhen nahten (“in the holy nights”) understood as a compound of weihen (“to hallow”) and Nacht (“night”), referring to the mid-winter nights, which were already celebrated in Germanic times. Compare Weihnacht.
Weihnachten n (genitive Weihnachtens, no plural), especially in Austria and Switzerland also plural
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