Old 01-10-2001, 12:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 132
I have heard the following phrase from a few people in my time, and it confuses me as to the "why" of it. The exclamation is "Holy Hanna" for short or "Holy Hanna-Barbera" if you are really torqued.

Ok, does anyone know why this exclamation came to be? I mean, I know of Hanna-Barbera's cartoons and such, but why take their name in vein, so to speak?
Old 01-10-2001, 12:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Winslow, ME
Posts: 6,322
I'm pretty sure that the exclaimation "Holy Hannah" or "Holy Hanna" (not sure of the correct spelling) pre-dates the Hanna-Barbera cartoons... but I can't seem to find any references for it that explain where it came from.

The "Holy Hanna-Barbera" is probably just a modern version of it, as so many people know the cartoons. Thinking the word Hanna easily leads to thinking Hanna-Barbera...
Old 01-10-2001, 02:04 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 132
Indeed. And I have searched for references to it as well. I immediately ask anyone that says it if they know what the origin of the phrase is. Ah, well. Maybe I will locate the information sooner or later.
Old 01-10-2001, 03:09 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 20
My guess:

St. Anne, a.k.a. St. Hannah, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus. She is also the patron saint of (among other things):

against poverty, Brittany, broommakers, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, childless people, homemakers, housewives, grandmothers, grandparents, lace makers, lace workers, lost articles, miners, mothers, old-clothes dealers, poverty, pregnancy, pregnant women, Quebec, Santa Ana Indian Pueblo, seamstresses, stablemen, sterility, Taos New Mexico, turners, women in labour
(source: http://catholic-forum.com/saints/sainta03.htm)
"Holy Hannah!" just might be an exclamation characteristic of one of the above groups. This saying then may have spread to the general public.

The source I cited also notes that Canadians considered Anne to be the patron of all who travel by water. Is the phrase another example of sailors' jargon? (Some other examples would be "taken aback," "know the ropes," "scuttlebutt," "take the wind out of one's sails.")

But then again, I have no idea . . .
Old 01-10-2001, 03:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 132
Hmmm. I had thought it may have had religious backgrounds, but had not known about this particular saint. It's not rock-solid, but it sounds like a pretty good explanation to me. Thanks for the input, Alki.

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