happy birthday in spanish

¡Feliz cumpleaños! How to Say Happy Birthday in Spanish

Leonor Garcia Published on January 15, 2024

¡Feliz cumpleaños! Welcome to this birthday celebration that’s full of Spanish! Birthdays are always an important moment, and there’s something extra special about making your wishes come true. Maybe you want to surprise a Spanish-speaking friend or just want to add a touch of pizzazz to your birthday greetings, ¡Estás en el lugar correcto! (You’re in the right place!)

In Spanish-speaking cultures, birthdays are a big thing. We take them seriously, and we try to make them special. There’s history behind them, of course. They weren’t always celebrated as we do today. Now, we usually have a big fiesta filled with laughter, delicious treats, and, of course, warm wishes. So, let’s start this linguistic adventure together. In this guide, you’ll learn how to say “Happy Birthday” in Spanish like a Spanish speaker, turning your well-wishing into a culturally rich experience.

happy birthday in spanish

Common Phrases to Say Happy Birthday in Spanish

There are different ways to wish someone a happy birthday other than “feliz cumpleaños.” If you want to learn Spanish, knowing common words and phrases to congratulate someone on their special day can help you develop your conversational skills. Most importantly, it can also teach you a lot about traditions in Spanish-speaking countries. Below, you’ll find different words, phrases, and traditions you can practice to give your Spanish friends a fun and heartfelt birthday party.

Well wishes

Sending birthday wishes can make someone feel special during their birthday. And when it comes to doing so in Spanish, it reaches a whole new level. Let’s explore the art of well-wishing in Spanish, turning ordinary greetings into vibrant expressions. They can go from wishing a day filled with love to showering someone with happiness and good health, each phrase is an actual gift, wrapped in the romance of the Spanish language.

I wish you a great day (Te deseo un gran día)

When you wish someone, “Te deseo un gran día” on their birthday, you’re essentially saying, “I hope your day is filled with fantastic moments, surprises, and all-around greatness.” It’s like sending a virtual party their way, complete with smiles and good vibes.

I wish you happiness (Que seas muy feliz)

Birthdays are all about happiness. When you say, “Que seas muy feliz” to someone on their special day, you’re not just wishing them happiness but a whole cascade of joy. It’s like giving them a birthday card that unfolds into a happiness explosion – a wish for laughter, positive vibes, and all-around good feelings.

I wish you good health (Que tengas buena salud)

Health is wealth, especially on birthdays! “Que tengas buena salud” is like wrapping your birthday wishes in a virtual wellness package. You’re expressing not only the desire for a fantastic day but also sending good vibes for a healthy and vibrant year ahead. It’s the perfect way to say, “May your cake be sweet, and your health even sweeter!”

The Happy Birthday Song in Spanish

If we talk about the Happy Birthday song in Spanish, we could say that it’s the bilingual moment of the day. We have the tradition of first singing the Happy Birthday song in English (in a very Spanish-pronounced way!), and then we get into the Spanish version of the same song. It might seem weird, but it’s part of our birthday traditions. The Peruvian version of the Happy Birthday song is the literal translation. However, it might have some slight variations depending on each country. You can see some different versions below.

Peru

Feliz Cumpleaños, a ti,

Feliz Cumpleaños, a ti,

Feliz Cumpleaños (name),

Feliz Cumpleaños a ti.

Chile

Cumpleaños feliz

te deseamos a ti

cumpleaños (name),

que los cumplas feliz

Spain

Cumpleaños feliz

Cumpleaños feliz

Te deseamos todos

Cumpleaños feliz

Birthday Vocabulary in Spanish

Birthdays celebrate life, and when it comes to adding a Spanish touch to the festivities, a bit of birthday vocabulary goes a long way. Let’s explore key terms that you will find in every birthday in Spanish:

Cumpleaños (Birthday)

The heart of the celebration! cumpleaños is the Spanish word for birthday, the very reason for the fiesta. So, when you’re at a birthday bash, you’re at a “fiesta de cumpleaños.”

Pastel (Cake)

What’s a birthday without a delicious cake? “Pastel” is the term that you use when you’re ready to indulge in a slice of birthday sweetness. It can also be called torta in some South American countries.

Regalo (Gift)

Don’t forget the excitement of unwrapping presents! “Regalo” is the Spanish word for gift, and a birthday is the perfect occasion to exchange these tokens of affection.

Velas (Candles)

Time to make a birthday wish! “Velas” are the candles that adorn the birthday cake, ready to be blown out with hopeful anticipation.

Tarjeta de Cumpleaños (Birthday Card)

 A lovely message is a must! “Tarjeta de cumpleaños” is a birthday card, where you can write down your warm wishes and spread love. If you can’t make it to a friend’s birthday party, you can still send them a birthday card to make them feel loved on their special day.

Fiesta de Cumpleaños (Birthday Party)

 The main term for the birthday party itself. “Fiesta de cumpleaños” captures the lively, joyful atmosphere of a birthday gathering.

Amigos (Friends) y Familia (Family)

Birthdays are best celebrated with loved ones. Amigos are friends, and familia is family—both essential ingredients for a memorable celebration. What would a fiesta de cumpleaños be without these wonderful people around?

Cumpleañero/a

 Our birthday boy or girl. The reason to be for this special and wonderful occasion! The cumpleañero (birthday boy) or cumpleañera (birthday girl) turn into royalty on the day of their birthday! They are the center of the celebration and the special people of the day. So let’s make sure that our cumpleañeros have a great time!

Birthday Traditions in Spanish-Speaking Countries

In Spain and Latin America, each country uniquely celebrates birthdays. We can find playful surprises like “La Mordida” (a popular tradition in many countries), the Mexican bits of “Las Mañanitas,” and the lively rituals of breaking piñatas or enjoying flour showers. These cultural and diverse traditions paint a vivid picture of the joyful moments that mark Spanish birthday celebrations.

La Mordida (The Bite) – Across Latin America

In many Spanish-speaking Latin American countries the birthday person is in for a playful surprise known as “La Mordida.” As the cake is presented, close friends and family cheerfully chant “Que lo muerda” (Bite it!), encouraging the birthday celebrant to take a literal bite of the cake. However, the twist is that, just as the person leans in for a nibble, their face might be gently pushed into the cake by some friends. It adds an element of surprise and laughter to the festivities.

Las Mañanitas – Serenade Tradition

Mostly seen in Mexico, the tradition of “Las Mañanitas” adds a musical touch to birthdays. Typically sung early in the morning, friends and family gather around to serenade the birthday person with this heartfelt song. It’s a beautiful and cherished way to express love and good wishes.

Breaking the Piñata – Various Countries

The piñata is not just a Mexican tradition but has become popular in many Spanish-speaking countries. Whether it’s shaped like a favorite character or a traditional star, the act of blindfolding someone, handing them a stick, and letting them take a swing at the suspended piñata is a festive and often hilarious part of birthday celebrations. Plus, piñatas are often filled with candy and other fun treats, so this is truly a party favorite among Spanish speakers. And, of course, it also has a musical touch! “Rompe la piñata” (break the piñata) becomes the soundtrack of this cheerful moment!

El Baño de Harina (Flour Bath) – Ecuador

An amusing birthday tradition in Ecuador involves the birthday person getting a flour shower. Friends and family might playfully cover the celebrant in flour, turning them into a living, laughing work of art. It’s a light-hearted and messy way to mark the special day.

Candle and Balloon Ritual – Spain

In Spain, a charming tradition involves attaching a candle to a balloon. The birthday person makes a wish, and then the balloon is released, carrying the candle and wish into the sky. It’s a symbolic and visually stunning way to send birthday hopes into the universe.

Queremos Que Partan La Torta – Peru

In Peru, the birthday festivities include a catchy song titled, “Queremos Que Partan La Torta” (We Want You to Cut the Cake). This playful serenade not only encourages the birthday owner to cut the cake but playfully warns that if they don’t share the cake, they might be destined to stay in that spot forever. It adds a humorous touch to the celebration, making sure everyone gets a slice of the joy.

How to Practice Saying Happy Birthday in Spanish

Get ready to express your birthday wishes in Spanish with the perfect blend of culture and celebration! When we’re learning a language, we can find numerous tools around to transform your ¡Feliz cumpleaños! into an expression of joy. Dive into language learning apps, turning your practice sessions into playful moments of mastering birthday-related vocabulary. For a more immersive experience, explore online courses, where real-world videos and cultural insights enhance your understanding of birthday customs. The always reliable tool, books, offer bite-sized lessons on greetings and celebrations, ensuring you’re well-equipped for any birthday fiesta. 

Connect with native speakers through language exchange platforms like Tandem, turning your ¡Feliz cumpleaños! into a living, breathing part of your language adventure. Feel free to use as many resources as you need to build a comprehensive study routine because these are some of the best ways to learn Spanish like a pro. Whether you prefer the convenience of apps, the depth of online courses, or the practicality of phrasebooks, these resources will help you make someone’s birthday feel extra special in Spanish.

Happy Birthday in Spanish: Final Thoughts

As we wrap up our journey through Spanish birthday celebrations, let’s reflect on the joy we’ve discovered in words and traditions. We’ve explored the most useful phrases to wish someone a happy birthday and peeked into the colorful celebrations across Spanish-speaking countries. Whether it’s playfully saying “Que lo muerda” during cake time or singing “Las Mañanitas,” each tradition paints a picture of happiness.

In the end, birthdays in the Spanish-speaking world are about more than just parties—they’re about love, family and friends, and sharing diverse cultures. Here’s to celebrating in Spanish and wishing for many more years of joyful moments and learning adventures. See you at the next birthday party!

Leonor Garcia

Leonor García is a Peruvian ESL teacher with a bachelor's degree from Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal. She is fluent in Spanish and English and is currently learning Portuguese. She is passionate about cultural exchange and using languages to drive globalization. Through her writing and teaching, Leonor aims to help people achieve their language learning goals. Connect with Leonor on LinkedIn.

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