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I am currently on lesson 9 of Japan Foundation's まるごと B1-1. There is a text about a woman celebrating Christmas for the first time at her American partner's home. It begins with the sentence "ダ一リンの実家でむかえるはじめてのクリスマス。". On the books' website there are translations for the texts, and that phrase is translated as "The first Christmas I was welcomed to my partner's family home". The Spanish version is basically the same (Spanish is my first language). This got me confused because when I read it, I understood the thing being "welcomed" (as in celebrated) to be Christmas, not the speaker. Maybe the meaning ends up being basically the same and the translators opted for a not-so-literal translation. I think if it was the speaker being welcomed the passive would be used, although I guess you couldn't just replace 迎える with 迎えられる since it's a relative clause (how should it be rewritten then?).

Am I correct or am I just misunderstanding the whole thing?

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    You’re right. The translation is inaccurate. The Japanese says nothing about the speaker being welcomed. There should be no reason to use a passive like that.
    – aguijonazo
    Aug 19 at 8:18

2 Answers 2

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Basic meaning of 迎える is to welcome/greet people. You can use this word while or before meeting that person. When 迎える is used with time-related words, such as Christmas or new year, it still has that basic meaning and you can understand this as time/season is about to come (and you are expecting it to come). So クリスマスを迎える means that the Christmas is just around the corner or it is already the Christmas time. Therefore, "ダ一リンの実家でむかえるはじめてのクリスマス。" can be understood as "The first Christmas that somebody is going to spend/celebrate/celebrating at the family home of one's lover"

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迎える has another meaning: ある時になる.

[人]が[ある時]を迎える = [someone] approach/reach [a certain time]

プログレッシブ和英中辞典 says:

むかえる【迎える】
4 〔ある時になる〕
新年を迎える greet the New Year
老いを迎える reach old age
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
結婚してから2度目の春を迎えた The second spring after their marriage came around.

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  • I'm afraid I still don't see how that fits with the OP's sentence. Could you give a literal translation please? Aug 18 at 22:54
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    @user3856370 "The first Christmas which [I] celebrate at Darling's parents' home". Although it's hard to find a perfectly matching transitive verb in English, "celebrate" or "experience" would not be too far in this context.
    – naruto
    Aug 18 at 23:28

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