The etymology is highly disputed.
Possibly a Bulgarian loanword. Compare dialectal Крачун (Kračun, “winter solstice”, and also a Slavic pagan holiday celebrated at the winter solstice), dialectal Macedonian Крачун (Kračun, “Christmas”), and Slovak Kračún (“winter solstice feast”, dialectally “Christmas”), maybe from Proto-Slavic *korčiti (“to step”, said of the sun becoming “bigger”). However, it is possible that these languages received the word, at least in this sense, from Romanian or a related Eastern Romance language, as Vlach peoples live throughout the Balkans and have been present as far as what is now Slovakia before being assimilated. See also Hungarian karácsony (“Christmas”).
Alternatively, it might be from Latin creātiōnem, accusative of creātiō (“creation, creature”), with the meaning derived from that of the creation or birth of a child, e.g. Jesus' birth on Christmas. Compare the archaic meaning of Spanish criazón (“person or child living in a house under the authority of another”), of the same origin (see crío and criar); compare also Sardinian criatzione (“creation; creature, child”) and Neapolitan criatura (“child”). The Romanian word had an older, archaic meaning of “birth” in church or religious usage, and is also used for the holy image of Christ's birth. See Aromanian Crãciun, which indicates a probable Latin origin for the word.
Other less likely etymologies proposed include:
- Latin Christī (“Christ's”) followed by an uncertain second root, such as iēiūnium (“fast”); compare Albanian Kërshëndella, from Christī nātāle (“Christ's birth”);
- Latin (in)carnatiōnem (“incarnation”), crastinum (“tomorrow, the morrow”), or calātiōnem (“calling, summoning”), this one being supported by a number of linguists; see also the Romanian suffix -ciune.
Crăciun n (plural Crăciunuri)
Crăciun m, f (genitive/dative lui Crăciun)
- A surname.