It’s one thing to find out it’s your friend’s birthday. It’s quite another to think you’d get away without wishing them a happy birthday. And if your friend speaks Spanish, then it would certainly be nicer if you knew how to say Happy Birthday in Spanish!
In this post, we’ll go over the basics of wishing someone a feliz cumpleaños, which is your easiest bet on how to say Happy Birthday in Spanish. We’ll also look at a few other options depending on the context and whether you’re in Spain or Latin America. For good measure, we’ll even introduce a different Happy Birthday song in Spanish for both sides of the Atlantic!
Feliz Cumpleaños vs. Felicidades
There are two main expressions to say Happy Birthday in Spanish: Feliz Cumpleaños and Felicidades. You can use either one interchangeably, although each has its own little nuances. Let’s take a look at each one.
Feliz Cumpleaños translates directly as “happy birthday,” so this version of Happy Birthday in Spanish is fairly straightforward. When we wish someone a Feliz Cumpleaños, our tone of voice always sounds positive or even excited. This is definitely the Spanish Happy Birthday wish to use when you really mean it.
Felicidades translates literally as “congratulations” or “best wishes.” It’s just as common as our previous phrase and can be used more generally. We definitely wish Felicidades to our friends and family, though this is also the Spanish Happy Birthday phrase to be used when you need to acknowledge the birthday of a colleague or an acquaintance.
Happy Birthday in Latin America: ¡Feliz Día!
So far, we’ve covered Feliz Cumpleaños and Felicidades, both of which can be used with Spanish speakers anywhere. In Latin America, however, there’s yet another expression that is way more common: ¡Feliz Día! Of course, you can still use either of the expressions we saw above if you want to wish your Latin American friends a Happy Birthday, but locally everyone usually sticks with ¡Feliz Día!
“¡Día!” in English translates literally as “day,” so this is obviously a festive and good-natured expression. Sometimes people even add more words to the phrase to personalize it and make it more heartfelt.
Expressing Birthday Wishes in Spanish
The three fundamental expressions we’ve seen so far can all be used on their own to wish someone a Happy Birthday in Spanish, although you can always elaborate further. Here are a few other common expressions for expressing birthday wishes in Spanish:
- Te deseo un feliz cumpleaños. – I wish you a happy birthday.
- ¡Que tengas un buen cumpleaños! – Have a great birthday!
- Te deseo mucha felicidad. – I wish you much happiness.
- ¡Que tu día esté lleno de alegría y felicidad! – May your day be filled with joy and happiness!
- Te enviamos nuestros mejores deseos. – We send you our best wishes.
Happy Belated Birthday in Spanish
So what happens if you somehow find out after the day? Or if you get to meet up with them afterwards? In other words, how do you say Happy Belated Birthday in Spanish?
Well, we simply admit that we’re late with our wishes by adding “feliz cumpleaños atrasado” or “feliz cumpleaños tardío,” both of which mean “belated birthday.”
The Happy Birthday Song in Spanish
“Happy Birthday to you!!!” This must be one of the most-sung songs in the English language, and its Spanish equivalent is no exception. If you’re familiar with the English version, you’ll certainly recognize the Spanish Happy Birthday song because it’s almost exactly the same!
To sing the Happy Birthday song in Spanish, we just replace “Happy Birthday to you” with “Feliz Cumpleaños” in all four lines. The only difference is that in Spanish, we don’t mention the person’s name in the song. Anyway, everyone’s always in a good mood when we sing the Happy Birthday song, in Spanish just as in English!
Here’s the Spanish Happy Birthday song:
“Feliz cumpleaños a ti,
Feliz cumpleaños a ti,
Feliz cumpleaños [nombre],
Feliz cumpleaños a ti.”
Here’s our video of this article inlcuding the Happy Birthday Song in Spanish.
We’ve covered quite a lot here, for such a straightforward topic of how to say Happy Birthday in Spanish. The fundamentals you need to remember are Feliz Cumpleaños and Felicidades, while in Latin America, ¡Feliz Día! is more commonly used. We covered how to wish a Happy Belated Birthday in Spanish, and we saw a few other Spanish birthday expressions. Finally, we learned the ubiquitous birthday song in Spanish.
We hope you feel confident with these essential expressions for the next time you’re celebrating a birthday with your Spanish-speaking friends or colleagues: you’re ready to wish them a Feliz Cumpleaños!