When 迎える is used in the sense of marking a special occasion or time, I have trouble translating it to English.

I imagined that 迎える always means to "welcome" "receive" "greet". But it can also take on a meaning of "celebrate", "commemorate" which is not mentioned in the definition below.


[迎える] (確実にやってくる)ある時期や段階を目前にする。また、その時期や段階が訪れる。 ある時になる。

The definition only defines 迎える as "when it becomes a time, season, period" but says nothing about "celebration" or "commemoration"

Looking at these examples:

新年を迎える。 Greet the New Year

20歳の誕生日を迎える Reach one's twentieth year/Celebrate one's twentieth birthday

死を迎える。 Approach death

1週年を迎える。 Commemerate the first anniversary

(人)が楽しいクリスマスとよい新年を迎えられるよう祈る。 Wish someone a very happy Christmas and a most successful New Year (not sure how 迎える is translated here)

This sentence treats 迎える like 祝う

みんなのおかげで素敵な誕生日を迎えられました。 Thanks to everyone, I could celebrate an amazing birthday.

I am confused as to when 迎える takes on the "become a time, season, period" definition, and when it takes the "celebrate, commemorate" definition.

Can someone please explain in detail what 迎える means in these contexts?

1 Answer 1


While "to celebrate" is a valid translation depending on the context, the word 迎える itself doesn't have such a meaning, as you can see from the definitions of the monolingual dictionary. 迎える can be safely used with undesirable events such as 死 and 夏休みの終わり.

As for your last example, you can say "I had an amazing birthday" using plain "have", and there is no loss in meaning. You can also think of よいクリスマスを迎える as "to have a happy Christmas".

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