Thursday, January 6, 2011


I'm supposed to have session with my Korean Phd. Computer Engineer tonight at 10:00pm Philippine time and 11:00pm Korean time but he asked me to amend it next week because he is going to Seoul.
 Since that I'm already  in front of the computer so I  decided to just check my email, yahoo and  face book to kill one 1/2 hour before resting.  Then, it caught my attention with the exchanging of messages between my niece and her teacher that said:  

                          Happy birthday po s mga celebrants today!


Now I’m mentioning all this to you, because last week the party host in the birthday party I was performing at kept referring to the birthday boy as “the birthday ...celebrator.” One or two members of the audience were smirking at the term. The reason? To most Filipinos, celebrator is a pretentious word. It has a ring of artificiality in it.

Which shouldn’t be the case, because celebrator is a correct term. The only reason that prompted the smirk, I think, is that celebrator is not often used in the Philippines in ordinary occasions. The usual word is celebrant.

So now, if you are a magician in the Philippines, who is not a native English speaker, you may want to know which is the correct term to use? Birthday “celebrator” or birthday “celebrant“?

The answer favors neither. According to, both terms are correct. They are in fact synonyms. They both mean “a participant in any celebration.” One can be used for the other, and it would mean the same thing.

However, celebrant also connotes “the officiating priest in the celebration of the Eucharist.” Methinks this connotation is what prompted well-meaning English professors and word mavens in the Philippines to preach that the correct term is celebrator.

Well, it may be the more correct term as far as nuance is concerned, but its sound grates the ears of ordinary citizens in the Philippines who are not used to hearing it, let alone using it.

That being the case, my advice is for you to use the more common word “celebrant.” It is still correct usage, and it is soothing to the ears of audiences in the Philippines.

" “I’m so glad to attend this party, because today is the birthday celebration of the birthday of our birthday celebrant who is celebrating his birthday as the birthday celebrator.” 

( And I sent a message to my niece and said:  "Bravo, you are doing your assignment in English, hahahaha"


celebrant -  a person who performs a ceremony for example a priest.  
celebrator - someone who celebrates.  "Is the priest the birthday celebrator?

In both formal and informal usage, both words can be interchanged.  

The expression birthday celebrant is correct.   Oh, the birthday celebrant is so beautiful!  NOT:  Oh, the birthday celebrator is so beautiful!: ) 

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