60 fun ways to say Happy Birthday in Spanish [plus songs, lyrics and cultural tips!)

Learning how to say happy birthday in Spanish takes no time and could make someone’s birthday an unforgettable experience.

Celebrating a birthday is one of the most intimate experiences you can have with someone. As you learn Spanish, you’ll inevitably run into many situations where you’ll want to wish someone a happy birthday.

Whether you’ve moved to a Spanish-speaking country, are traveling through Latin America, or are simply having a birthday celebration with your Spanish class, you’ll have no shortage of reasons to celebrate a birthday.

Plus, if you know anything about Latin American cultures, you know we know how to throw a party! From cumbia to bachata to mariachi and beyond, there are countless unique kinds of music that make Latin American birthday parties unmissable.

So, let us show you some of the best ways to say happy birthday in Spanish. We’ll also cover some funny and unique ways to wish someone a happy birthday, in case you’re not someone to go with the flow.

Make sure to read the article all the way ‘til the end as we’ll also cover some important cultural considerations to keep in mind regarding birthdays in Spanish-speaking countries!

How to say happy birthday in Spanish

As with English, there are countless ways to wish someone a happy birthday. In this article, we’ve included over sixty unique ways to congratulate someone for their birthday in Spanish.

This first section will cover some of the more common ways, such as how to wish someone a belated happy birthday, while the following section will include more funny and quirky examples!

Family and friends saying Happy birthday in Spanish.

EnglishSpanishIPAPronunciation
Happy birthday!¡Feliz cumpleaños!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Happy birthday! (casual)¡Feliz cumple!feˈlis ˈkũmple ‖feh-lees coom-pleh
Belated happy birthday!¡Feliz cumpleaños atrasado!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos atɾaˈsaðo ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos ah-trah-sah-doh
Congratulations!¡Muchas felicidades!ˈmuʧas felisiˈðaðes ‖moo-chas feh-lee-see-da-dehs
I wish you the best on your birthday.Te deseo todo lo mejor en tu cumpleaños.te ðeˈseo ˈtoðo lo meˈxoɾ ɛ̃n tu kũmpleˈaɲos ‖teh deh-seh-oh toh-doh lo meh-hore en too coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Hope you have many more!¡Que cumplas muchos más!ˈke ˈkũmplas̬ ˈmuʧos̬ ˈmas ‖keh coom-plas moo-chos ah-nyos mas
Have a very special day.Que tengas un día muy especial.ˈke ˈtɛ̃nɡas ũn ˈdia mwj ɛspeˈsjal ‖keh ten-gas oon dee-ah moo-ey es-peh-see-al
Many happy returns!¡Que tengas muchos más!ˈke ˈtɛ̃nɡas̬ ˈmuʧos̬ ˈmas ‖keh ten-gas moo-chos mas
Thanks for being born!¡Gracias por haber nacido!ˈɡɾasjas poɾ aˈβɛɾ naˈsiðo ‖grah-see-as pore ah-behr na-see-doh
Happy birthday my love.Feliz cumpleaños, mi amor.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | mj aˈmoɾ ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos me ah-more
Happy birthday, brother/sister/mom/dad.Feliz cumpleaños, hermano / hermana / mamá / papá.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | ɛɾˈmano | ɛɾˈmana | maˈma | paˈpa ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos air-ma-no air-ma-na mah-ma pah-pa
Happy birthday grandma/grandpa.Feliz cumpleaños, abuelo / abuela.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | aˈβwelo | aˈβwela ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos ah-boo-eh-lo ah-boo-eh-la
Another year around the sun - happy birthday!Otro año alrededor del sol – ¡Feliz cumpleaños!te ðeˈseo ũ̯m mwi feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖oh-tro-ah-nyo al-reh-deh-dor del sol feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Wishing you a very happy birthday!¡Te deseo un muy feliz cumpleaños!te ðeˈseo ũ̯m mwi feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖teh deh-seh-oh oon moo-ey feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Happy birthday my friend.Feliz cumpleaños, mi amigo.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | mj aˈmiɣo ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos me ah-me-go
Happy birthday, cousin.Feliz cumpleaños, primo.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | ˈpɾimo ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos 
Best birthday wishes to you!¡Mis mejores deseos en tu cumpleaños!mis̬ meˈxoɾes̬ ðeˈseos ɛ̃n tu kũmpleˈaɲos ‖mees meh-hore-es deh-seh-os en too coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Happy birthday beautiful!¡Feliz cumpleaños, hermoso!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | ɛɾˈmoso ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos air-mo-so
Happy 21st/ 30th/40th/50th etc. birthdayFeliz cumpleaños 21/30/40/50.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos̬ βei̯nˈtjuno ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos bey-n-tee-oo-no / trey-n-tah / koo-ah-reh-n-tah / seen-koo-en-tah
Hope all your birthday wishes come true!¡Espero que todos tus deseos de cumpleaños se cumplan!ɛsˈpɛɾo ˈke ˈtoðos tus̬ ðeˈseos̬ ðe kũmpleˈaɲos se ˈkũmplãn ‖es-pear-oh keh toh-dos toos deh-seh-os deh coom-pleh-ah-nyos seh coom-plan
Happy birthday in heaven.Feliz cumpleaños en el cielo.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ɛn ɛl ˈsjelo ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos en elle see-eh-lo
Happy birthday, have a good one!Feliz cumpleaños, ¡que la pases bien!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | ˈke la ˈpases̬ ˈβjɛ̃n ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos keh la pah-ses bee-ehn
Happy birthday, I hope you enjoy your day!Feliz cumpleaños, ¡espero que disfrutes tu día!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | ɛsˈpɛɾo ˈke ðisˈfɾutes tu ˈðia ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos es-pear-oh keh dees-froo-tes too dee-ah
Have a fabulous birthday!¡Que tengas un cumpleaños fabuloso!ˈke ˈtɛ̃nɡas ũn kũmpleˈaɲos faβuˈloso ‖keh ten-gas oon coom-pleh-ah-nyos fah-boo-lo-so
I hope you have a wonderful birthday.Espero que tengas un cumpleaños maravilloso.ɛsˈpɛɾo ˈke ˈtɛ̃nɡas ũn kũmpleˈaɲos̬ maɾaβiˈʝoso ‖es-pear-oh keh ten-gas oon coom-pleh-ah-nyos ma-ra-ve-yo-so
All the best!¡Te deseo lo mejor!te ðeˈseo lo meˈxoɾ ‖teh deh-seh-oh lo meh-hore
May your birthday be filled with laughter!¡Que tu día esté lleno de risas!ˈke tu ˈðia ɛsˈte ˈʝeno ðe ˈrisas ‖keh too dee-ah es-teh yeh-no deh ree-sas
I wish you the best on your special day.Te deseo lo mejor en tu día especial.te ðeˈseo lo meˈxoɾ ɛ̃n tu ˈðia ɛspeˈsjal ‖teh deh-seh-oh lo meh-hore en too dee-ah es-peh-see-al
Wishing you the best birthday celebration!¡Te deseo el mejor festejo por tu cumpleaños!te ðeˈseo ɛl meˈxoɾ fɛsˈtexo poɾ tu kũmpleˈaɲos ‖teh deh-seh-oh el meh-hore fes-teh-ho por too coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Wishing you many more candles to blowTe deseo muchas más velitas para soplar.te ðeˈseo ˈmuʧas̬ ˈmas̬ βeˈlitas ˈpaɾa sop̚ˈlaɾ ‖teh deh-seh-oh moo-chas mas veh-lee-tas pa-ra so-plar
Wishing you a day that is as special as you are.Te deseo un día tan especial como tú lo eres.te ðeˈseo ũ̯n ˈdia ˈtan ɛspeˈsjal ˈkomo ˈtu lo ˈɛɾes ‖teh deh-seh-oh oon dee-ah tan es-peh-see-al co-mo too lo eh-res
I wish you the best in the year to come.Te deseo lo mejor en el año que viene.te ðeˈseo lo meˈxoɾ ɛn ɛl ˈaɲo ˈke ˈβjene ‖teh deh-seh-oh lo meh-hore en elle ah-nyo keh ve-eh-neh
Happy birthday, and remember that age is just a number!Feliz cumpleaños, y ¡recuerda que la edad es solamente un número!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | i reˈkwɛɾða ˈke la eˈðað ˈɛs solaˈmɛ̃nte ũ̯n ˈnumɛɾo ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos e reh-coo-air-da keh la eh-dad es so-la-men-teh oon noo-meh-ro
Congratulations on another trip around the sun!¡Felicidades por otro viaje alrededor del sol!felisiˈðaðes poɾ ˈotɾo ˈβjaxe alreðeˈðoɾ ðɛl ˈsol ‖feh-lee-see-da-des pore oh-tro ve-ah-heh al reh-deh-door del sol
To good health and happiness, happy birthday.Por buena salud y felicidad, feliz cumpleaños.poɾ ˈβwena saˈluð i felisiˈðað | feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖por boo-eh-na sa-lood e feh-lee-see-dad, feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Happy cake day!¡Feliz día de pastel!feˈlis̬ ˈðia ðe pasˈtɛl ‖feh-lees dee-ah deh pas-tel
Have a great birthday! You deserve it!¡Que tengas un gran cumpleaños! ¡Te lo mereces!ˈke ˈtɛ̃nɡas ũn ˈɡɾãn kũmpleˈaɲos ‖ te lo mɛˈɾeses ‖keh ten-gas oon gran coom-pleh-ah-nyos teh lo meh-reh-ses
Congratulations on another year well spent!¡Felicidades por otro año bien aprovechado!felisiˈðaðes poɾ ˈotɾo ˈaɲo ˈβjɛn apɾoβeˈʧaðo ‖feh-lee-see-da-des por oh-tro ah-nyo bee-en ah-pro-veh-cha-do
Happy birthday! Don’t count the candles, just enjoy the glow. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! No cuentes las velas, solo disfruta su brillo.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖ ˈno ˈkwɛ̃ntes̬ las̬ ˈβelas | ˈsolo ðisˈfɾuta su ˈβɾiʝo ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos no coo-en-tes las veh-las so-lo dees-froo-tah soo bree-yo

Happy birthday in Spanish song [video] with lyrics

What’s a birthday without a birthday song? Even in Spain and Latin America, singing happy birthday is one of the most important parts of every birthday celebration. However–as you probably expected–Spanish speakers don’t actually sing the birthday song you’re so used to!

What you may not have expected, though, is that there is more than one traditional happy birthday song in Spanish-speaking countries!

The most common one is almost a word-for-word translation of the English happy birthday song. This is the most popular birthday song in Spain and most of South America. The lyrics are very similar to the English version, although there are two main variations!

Variation 1:

Cumpleaños feliz
Cumpleaños feliz
Te deseamos todos
Cumpleaños feliz

Variation 2:

Feliz cumpleaños a ti
Feliz cumpleaños a ti
Feliz cumpleaõs [birthday person’s name]
Feliz cumpleaños a ti

The other popular birthday song is Las Mañanitas. This birthday song is used throughout Mexico and the Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. This one is completely different from the birthday song you’re used to! Check out the lyrics below and see how soon you can sing along to it!

Estas son las mañanitas
Que cantaba el rey David
Hoy por ser día de tu santo 
Te las cantamos aquí
Despierta mi bien despierta
Mira que ya amaneció
Ya los pajaritos cantan
La luna ya se metió

Funny happy birthday wishes in Spanish

If you like to get creative and put your own twist on things, then this section’s for you. The following are examples of tongue-in-cheek ways to say happy birthday in Spanish. If you’re already an intermediate Spanish speaker, feel free to put your own twist on any of the following funny happy birthday in Spanish phrases!

EnglishSpanishIPAPronunciation
Congratulations on getting slightly older!¡Felicidades por estar un poco más viejo!felisiˈðaðes poɾ ɛsˈtaɾ ũm ˈpoko ˈmas̬ ˈβjexo ‖feh-lee-see-da-des pore es-tar oon po-co mas vee-eh-ho
Everyone gets to be young once. Today it’s official, your turn is over. Happy birthday!Todos tienen la oportunidad de ser jóvenes alguna vez. Hoy es oficial, tu turno ha terminado. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! ˈtoðos ˈtjenɛ̃n la opoɾtuniˈðað ðe ˈsɛɾ ˈxoβenes alˈɣuna ˈβes ‖ ˈoj ˈɛs ofiˈsjal | tu ˈtuɾno ˈa tɛɾmiˈnaðo ‖ feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖toe-dos tee-eh-nen la oh-pore-too-nee-dad deh ser ho-veh-nes al-goo-na ves oh-ey es oh-fee-see-al too toor-no ah tehr-me-na-do feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Older? Definitely. Wiser? Debatable. Happy Birthday!¿Mayor? Definitivamente. ¿Más sabio? Discutible. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!maˈʝoɾ ‖ definitiβaˈmɛ̃nte ‖ ˈmas ˈsaβjo ‖ diskuˈtiβle ‖ feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖mah-yor deh-fee-nee-tee-va-men-teh mas sah-bee-oh dees-coo-tee-bleh feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
A true friend remembers your birthday, but not your age.Un verdadero amigo se acuerda de tu cumpleaños, pero no de tu edad.ũm bɛɾðaˈðɛɾo aˈmiɣo se aˈkwɛɾða ðe tu kũmpleˈaɲos | ˈpɛɾo ˈno ðe tw eˈðað ‖oon ver-da-deh-ro ah-me-go seh ah-coo-air-da deh too coom-pleh-ah-nyos peh-ro no deh too eh-dad
Happy birthday! Super glad you were born.¡Feliz cumpleaños! Estoy super contento de que hayas nacido.feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖ ɛsˈtoi̯ suˈpɛɾ kõnˈtɛ̃nto ðe ˈke ˈaʝas̬ naˈsiðo ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos es-toy soo-per con-ten-toe deh keh ah-yas nah-see-doh
May you live so long your wrinkles have wrinkles. Happy birthday!Que vivas tanto que tus arrugas tengan sus propias arrugas. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!ˈke ˈβiβas ˈtãnto ˈke tus aˈruɣas ˈtɛ̃nɡãn sus ˈpɾopjas aˈruɣas ‖ feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖keh vee-vas tan-toe keh toos ah-roo-gas ten-gan soos pro-pee-as ah-roo-gas feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
Happy birthday! Here’s to another year of questionable life decisions!¡Feliz cumpleaños! ¡Por un año más lleno de decisiones cuestionables!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖ poɾ un ˈaɲo ˈmas̬ ˈʝeno ðe ðesiˈsjones kwɛstjoˈnaβles ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos pore oon ah-nyo mas yeh-no deh deh
Happy birthday! But please stop growing up, it’s a trap!¡Feliz cumpleaños! Pero, por favor deja de crecer, ¡es una trampa!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖ ˈpɛɾo | poɾ faˈβoɾ ˈðexa ðe kɾeˈsɛɾ | ˈɛs ˈuna ˈtɾãmpa ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos peh-ro pore fa-vore deh-ha deh creh-ser es oo-na tram-pah
I wish you a happier birthday than anyone else has wished you!¡Te deseo un cumpleaños más feliz que cualquier otra persona te ha deseado!te ðeˈseo ũ̯n kũmpleˈaɲos̬ ˈmas feˈlis ˈke kwalˈkjɛɾ ˈotɾa pɛɾˈsona te ˈa ðeseˈaðo ‖teh deh-seh-oh oon coom-pleh-ah-nyos mas feh-lees keh coo-al-key-air oh-tra pear-so-na teh ah deh-seh-ah-doh
Congratulations on getting through another 365 days!¡Felicidades por sobrevivir otros 365 días!felisiˈðaðes poɾ soβɾeβiˈβiɾ ˈotɾos tɾeˈsjɛ̃ntos seˈsɛ̃nta i̯ ˈsĩnko ˈðias ‖feh-lee-see-da-des pore so-bre-vee-vir oh-tros tres-see-en-tos-seh-sen-ta-e-seen-co dee-as
Happy oldest-you-have-ever-been and youngest-you-will-ever-be-again day.Feliz día de lo-más-viejo-que-has-sido y lo-más-joven-que-jamás-serás.feˈlis̬ ˈðia ðe lo ˈmas̬ ˈβjexo ˈke ˈas ˈsiðo i̯ lo ˈmas ˈxoβɛ̃n ˈke xaˈmas sɛˈɾas ‖feh-lees dee-ah deh lo mas vee-eh-ho keh as see-doh e lo mas ho-ven keh ha-mas seh-ras
Happy level up day!¡Feliz día de subir de nivel!feˈlis̬ ˈðia ðe suˈβiɾ ðe niˈβɛl ‖feh-lees dee-ah deh soo-bir deh ne-vel
Didn’t we just celebrate this like a year ago? Happy birthday!¿Qué no celebramos esto hace como un año? ¡Feliz cumpleaños!ˈke ˈno seleˈβɾamos ˈɛsto ˈase ˈkomo u̯n ˈaɲo ‖ feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖keh no seh-leh-bra-mos es-toe ah-seh coh-mo oon ah-nyo feh-lees cum-pleh-anyos
Happy birthday! And if somebody says you're old, hit them with your walking stick!¡Feliz cumpleaños! Y si alguien te dice que estás viejo, ¡pégales con tu bastón!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos ‖ i sj ˈalɣjɛ̃n te ˈðise ˈke ɛsˈtas̬ ˈβjexo | ˈpeɣales kõn tu βasˈtõn ‖feh-lees-coom-pleh-ah-nyos e see al-gee-ehn teh dee-seh keh es-tas vee-eh-ho peh-ga-les con too bas-ton
I know it’s your special day, but please take it slow. Too many birthdays can kill you.Ya sé que es tu día especial, pero por favor tómalo con calma. Muchos cumpleaños te pueden matar.ɟʝa ˈse ˈke ˈɛs tu ˈðia ɛspeˈsjal | ˈpɛɾo poɾ faˈβoɾ ˈtomalo kõn ˈkalma ‖ ˈmuʧos kũmpleˈaɲos te ˈpweðɛ̃m maˈtaɾ ‖ya seh keh es too dee-ah es-peh-see-al pear-oh pore eh-so to-mah-lo con cal-ma moo-chos coom-pleh-ah-nyos teh poo-eh-den ma-tar
Today’s a great excuse for you to make some bad decisions. Let’s party!Hoy es una gran excusa para que tomes malas decisiones. ¡Vámonos de fiesta!ˈoj ˈɛs ˈuna ˈɣɾan ɛksˈkusa ˈpaɾa ˈke ˈtomes̬ ˈmalas̬ ðesiˈsjones ‖ ˈbamonos̬ ðe ˈfjɛsta ‖oh-ey es oo-na gran ex-coo-sa pa-ra keh to-mes ma-las deh-see-see-oh-nes va-mo-nos deh fee-es-ta
You’re a year closer to getting that senior citizen’s discount. Keep at it!Estás un año más cerca de que te den descuento de adultos mayores. ¡Sigue así!ɛsˈtas un ˈaɲo ˈmas ˈsɛɾka ðe ˈke te ˈðɛ̃n dɛsˈkwɛ̃nto ðe aˈðultos̬ maˈʝoɾes ‖ ˈsiɣe aˈsi ‖es-tas oon ah-nyo mas ser-ca de keh te den des-coo-en-tos deh ah-dool-tos mah-yo-res see-geh ah-see
Like a fine wine, you only get better with time!Como un buen vino, ¡solo mejoras con los años!ˈkomo ũ̯m ˈbwɛ̃m ˈbino | ˈsolo meˈxoɾas kõn los ˈaɲos ‖co-mo oon boo-en ve-no so-lo meh-ho-ras con los ah-nyos
Another year without dying. Good for you!Otro año más de no morir. ¡Bien por ti! ˈotɾo ˈaɲo ˈmas̬ ðe ˈno moˈɾiɾ ‖ ˈbjɛ̃m poɾ ˈti ‖oh-tro ah-nyo mas deh no mo-reer bee-en por ti
Did you know birthdays are good for you? Studies show that the more you have, the longer you live!¿Sabías que los cumpleaños son buenos para la salud? Varios estudios demuestran que mientras más tengas, ¡más vas a vivir!saˈβias ˈke los kũmpleˈaɲos ˈsõm ˈbwenos ˈpaɾa la saˈluð ‖ ˈbaɾjos ɛsˈtuðjos̬ ðeˈmwɛstɾãn ˈke ˈmjɛ̃ntɾas̬ ˈmas ˈtɛ̃nɡas | ˈmas̬ ˈβas a βiˈβiɾ ‖sah-bee-as keh los coom-pleh-ah-nyos son boo-eh-nos pa-ra la sa-lood vah-ree-os es-too-dee-os deh-moo-es-tran keh me-en-tras mas ten-gas mas vas ah vee-veer
Happy stuff your face with cake day!¡Feliz día de atascarte de pastel!feˈlis̬ ˈðia ðe atasˈkaɾte ðe pasˈtɛl ‖feh-lees dee-ah deh ah-tas-car-teh deh pas-tel
Happy birthday to one of the few people whose birthday I can remember without a Facebook reminder.¡Feliz cumpleaños a una de las pocas personas cuyo cumpleaños puedo recordar sin un recordatorio de Facebook!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos a ˈuna ðe las ˈpokas pɛɾˈsonas ˈkuʝo kũmpleˈaɲos ˈpweðo rekoɾˈðaɾ sin ũn rekoɾðaˈtoɾjo ðe faseβoˈok ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos ah oo-na deh las po-cas per-so-nas coo-yo coom-pleh-ah-nyos poo-eh-do reh-cor-dar seen oon reh-core-da-toe-re-oh de facebook
Happy birthday, and remember that growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional!Feliz cumpleaños, y recuerda que crecer es obligatorio, pero ¡madurar es opcional!feˈlis kũmpleˈaɲos | i reˈkwɛɾða ˈke kɾeˈsɛɾ ˈɛs oβliɣaˈtoɾjo | ˈpɛɾo maðuˈɾaɾ ˈɛs opsjoˈnal ‖feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos e reh-coo-air-da keh creh-ser es oh-blee-gah-toe-ree-oh peh-ro ma-doo-rar es op-see-oh-nal

How to write a happy birthday card message in Spanish

Many people enjoy birthday cards on their birthdays as they can keep them as fun keepsakes of their loved ones. If you know anyone like this, you might be looking to learn how to write a happy birthday card in Spanish.

You can also just surprise anyone with a heartfelt birthday card. It will make them feel special while also giving you an opportunity to practice your letter-writing skills in Spanish.

If you’ve never written a birthday card in Spanish, here are some useful tips to keep in mind.

Write Happy Birthday in Spanish greeting card.

Opening

Opening a letter in English is quite easy, as the standard “Dear” is almost always used. In Spanish, you have to make a decision that will impact the tone of the entire letter: Estimado or Querido.

Estimado translates directly into “Esteemed,” but it can also mean “Dear.” This is the more formal of the two, so this is what you would use if you were writing a birthday card for your boss or your mother-in-law. If you open your letter with Estimado, then you would normally write the rest of the letter using the formal usted.

On the other hand, starting with Querido is a lot more casual and intimate. It roughly translates to “beloved,” so it wouldn’t be an appropriate way to open a letter to your boss. However, feel free to use it freely with romantic partners, family members, and good friends. You would write the rest of your letter with the informal after opening it with Querido.

Body

The body of your birthday card is where you can really personalize it and give it your own spin. Here, you can go as formal or casual as you’d like, depending on who you’re addressing your letter to and what your relationship with them is like.

So, we’ll give you a few example sentences that you can use for different contexts, depending on if you’re trying to say happy birthday grandma in Spanish or want to send a respectful birthday card to your boss.

EnglishSpanishContext
I hope that your birthday is full of pleasant surprises and I wish you the best in the upcoming year.Espero que este cumpleaños esté lleno de sorpresas gratas y le deseo lo mejor en el próximo año.Formal
I hope you have an incredible time celebrating your birthday and that all your wishes come true.Espero que te la pases increíble en tu cumpleaños y que todos tus deseos se vuelvan realidadCasual
I wish you a very happy birthday and all the success in every endeavor this upcoming year.Le deseo un muy feliz cumpleaños y mucho éxito en todos los ámbitos este siguiente año.Formal
Have tons of fun and celebrate to the max!¡Diviértete mucho y festeja al máximo!Casual
Our team wishes you an excellent birthday and much success ahead.Nuestro equipo le desea un excelente cumpleaños y mucho éxito por delante.Formal
I wish you the best of birthdays and send you a big hug. Te deseo el mejor de los cumpleaños y te mando un muy fuerte abrazo. Casual

Closing

Likewise, there are a few different ways to close out your birthday message depending on the context. Here are a few popular phrases for ending your birthday card like a pro, along with the corresponding context.

EnglishSpanishContext
RespectfullyAtentamenteFormal
With much affectionCon mucho cariñoInformal
RespectfullyUn cordial saludoFormal
KissesUn besoInformal

Common questions about birthdays in Spanish

If you live in or are traveling in a Spanish-speaking country, birthdays can very easily come up as you meet people. After saying hi to someone, casual conversation may naturally lead to birthdays, especially if you’re interested in knowing people’s zodiac signs. Here are some common questions you may encounter regarding birthdays.

Happy birthday in Spanish at a childrens party.

EnglishSpanishIPAPronunciation
When is your birthday?¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?ˈkwãndo ˈɛs tu kũmpleˈaɲos ‖coo-an-do es too coom-pleh-ah-nyos
How old are you turning?¿Cuántos años cumples?ˈkwãntos ˈaɲos ˈkũmples ‖coo-an-tos ah-nyos coom-ples
What do you want to do for your birthday?¿Qué quieres hacer en tu cumpleaños?ˈke ˈkjɛɾes aˈsɛɾ ɛ̃n tu kũmpleˈaɲos ‖keh key-air-es ah-ser en too coom-pleh-ah-nyos
What do you want to get for your birthday?¿Qué quieres de regalo de cumpleaños?ˈke ˈkjɛɾes̬ ðe reˈɣalo ðe kũmpleˈaɲos ‖keh key-air-es deh reh-ga-lo deh coom-pleh-ah-nyos
What did you get for your birthday?¿Qué te regalaron de cumpleaños?ˈke te reɣaˈlaɾõn de kũmpleˈaɲos ‖keh teh reh-ga-la-ron deh coom-pleh-ah-nyos
How was your birthday?¿Qué tal estuvo tu cumpleaños?ˈke ˈtal ɛsˈtuβo tu kũmpleˈaɲos ‖keh tal es-too-vo too coom-pleh-ah-nyos

Birthday vocabulary in Spanish

Beyond ways to just send a happy birthday message in Spanish, there are plenty of auxiliary words that will help you deal with birthdays in Spanish-speaking countries. Here is some birthday vocabulary in Spanish to help you round out your knowledge.

EnglishSpanishIPAPronunciation
Birthday partyLa fiesta de cumpleañosˈfjɛsta ðe kũmpleˈaɲosfee-es-ta deh coom-pleh-ah-nyos
CakeEl pastelpasˈtɛlpas-tel
CandlesLas velasˈβelasveh-las
PresentsLos regalosreˈɣalosreh-ga-los
WishesLos deseosðeˈseosdeh-seh-os
BalloonsLos globosˈɣloβosglo-bos
MusicLa músicaˈmusikamoo-see-ca
Birthday boyEl cumpleañerokũmpleaˈɲɛɾocoom-pleh-ah-nyeh-ro
Birthday girlLa cumpleañerakũmpleaˈɲɛɾacoom-pleh-ah-nyeh-ra
InvitationLa invitaciónĩ̯mbitaˈsjõnin-vee-ta-see-on
SurpriseLa sorpresasoɾˈpɾesasor-preh-sa
To make a wishPedir un deseopeˈðiɾ ũn deˈseopeh-deer oon deh-seh-oh
AgeLa edadeˈðaðeh-dad
ConfettiEl confettikõmˈfɛt̚ticon-feh-tee
CupcakeEl bollitoβoˈʝitobo-yee-toe
Party favorsLas bolsitas de dulcesβolˈsitas̬ ðe ˈðulsesbol-see-tas deh dool-ses
RSVPConfirmar asistenciakõmfiɾˈmaɾ asisˈtɛ̃nsjacon-feer-mar ah-sis-ten-see-ah
CelebrationLa celebraciónseleβɾaˈsjõnseh-leh-brah-see-on
ClownEl payasopaˈʝasopa-ya-so

Birthday traditions in Spanish-speaking countries

Piñata

You probably already expected to see this wonderful tradition somewhere in this post. And if you’re not familiar with piñatas (pee-nyah-tas), let me introduce you to this fun birthday activity.

Most birthday parties in Mexico (and certainly all children's birthday parties) will include a piñata. These are decorated figures made with cardboard and paper maché that are filled with candy.

The birthday person (and oftentimes party guests as well) must hit and break the piñata so that all the candy falls on the ground. Once the piñata is broken, all guests are welcome to charge for the candy on the ground!

There’s a typical piñata song that is played whenever someone is hitting the piñata. Party guests are expected to sing along, so watch the following video and with lyrics so you’re not lost next time you attend a Spanish-speaking birthday party!

Ear tugs

If you’re celebrating your birthday in Spain, you may want to watch out! Ear pulling is a typical birthday tradition in Spain, where close friends and family give you one ear tug for every year you’ve lived–plus an extra one for luck!

So, no, don’t take it as a form of violence if someone pulls on your ear on your birthday!

Mordida

La mordida is one of the more bizarre birthday traditions in Latin America. Of course, all birthday parties must include a birthday cake, but they tend to serve a very different purpose across Latin America.

Instead of eating the birthday cake–as you’d expect–you’re meant to shove the birthday cake in the birthday person’s face! Immediately after the happy birthday song is over and the candles are blown, someone will inevitably start chanting “¡Mordida! ¡Mordida!” If you don’t know what that means, then watch the video below!

Quinceañera

One of the most famous Latin American birthday traditions is the quinceañera. This is an extra-special, once-in-a-lifetime celebration that happens only when a girl turns 15. This is a major milestone as it marks the beginning of the transition from childhood to womanhood.

Quinceañera celebrations are usually big parties that include:

  • A fancy quinceañera gown for the birthday girl.
  • A quinceañera Court of Honor, similar to a bridal party
  • A religious ceremony at a church before the actual party.
  • A father/daughter dance.
  • A choreographed dance from the quinceañera and her Court of Honor.
  • A toast of well-wishes for the quinceañera.

You should definitely do your best to attend a quinceañera party if you ever have the chance to!

Frequently asked questions about saying happy birthday in Spanish

Should happy birthday be capitalized in Spanish? 

No! You shouldn’t capitalize happy birthday in Spanish. Spanish is very unfriendly when it comes to capitalizing words, so unless you’re dealing with proper nouns, you should err on the side of using lowercase letters. Since feliz cumpleaños is not a proper noun, you shouldn’t capitalize it.

Should you text your ex happy birthday? 

You shouldn’t text your ex happy birthday if you haven’t moved on yet. If you think getting in touch with your ex will prevent you from moving on, then you should avoid texting them happy birthday.

However, if you feel that you’ve both moved on and sufficient time has passed, then there’s nothing wrong with sending a friendly happy birthday message!

Do Spanish people have two birthdays?

Spanish people do not have two birthdays, but you may have heard of the Saint’s Day celebrations in Spain. In Spanish, “día de tu santo” can often refer to two things: your actual birthday, and your Saint’s day.

As you probably know, Catholicism has a very big influence on Hispanic countries and their cultural traditions. Celebrating your saint’s day (according to the Catholic Santorale) is one of those instances.

However, your Saint’s Day is nowhere near as important as your actual birthday. You may be greeted with a “¡Feliz día de tu santo!” on your Saint’s Day, but that’s it. You wouldn’t throw a party on your saint’s day, and you certainly shouldn’t expect any presents!

Now you’re ready for a Spanish birthday party

If you’ve read through the entire article, ¡Felicidades! Now you know over 60 fun and exciting ways to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish. You don’t have to learn them all, though. Instead, focus on meeting more people and making more Spanish-speaking friends. That way, you’ll have many more chances to practice how to say happy birthday in Spanish!

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to also check out the rest of our Spanish blog! We publish fun (and free!) study resources like these all the time, so make sure to bookmark it and come back soon!

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