5 Ways To Say “Happy Birthday in Spanish” Like a Native [Plus Birthday Vocab]

Celebrating birthdays is just as important in Spanish culture as it is in English!

Knowing how to say “happy birthday” and send your best wishes is an essential part of speaking the language.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to say “happy birthday” in Spanish as well as some extra birthday phrases and vocabulary you can use to congratulate them on their big day!


“Happy Birthday” in Spanish

Here are the most popular phrases you can use to wish someone a happy birthday:

1. ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! Happy Birthday!

This is the most common way to wish someone a “happy birthday” in Spanish across the Spanish-speaking world.

Like “happy birthday!” in English, all you need is this phrase, adding a name is optional: 

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Juan! — Happy Birthday, Juan!

As you will see below, this phrase is also sometimes shortened in colloquial speech to “¡Feliz cumple!” which also means “happy birthday!” 

2. ¡Feliz Cumple! — Happy Birthday!

Cumple is the short version of cumpleaños. This is also very commonly used, although it’s more informal than the first one.

Note that both phrases contain some form of the verb cumplir (to fulfill) + años. This translates literally to “to complete years.” So when you wish someone feliz cumpleaños, you are wishing them a “happy completion of this year!”

3. ¡Felicidades! — Happy Birthday!

Along with feliz cumpleañosfelicidades is another popular birthday phrase. This phrase translates literally into English as “happiness” and is used to say “congratulations” or “best wishes” in Spanish. ¡Felicidades! is often used to wish someone a happy birthday. 

Here are a few birthday phrases using felicidades:

¡Felicidades! — Happy birthday! / Congratulations!

¡Muchas felicidades! — Many congratulations!

¡Muchas felicidades en tu día! — Many congratulations on your birthday!

4. ¡Felicitaciones! — Happy Birthday!

Felicitaciones is used in Spanish to say “congratulations.” This phrase is less common than the others in this list and is seen as a formal way of wishing someone a happy birthday. 

It’s worth adding felicitaciones to your Spanish vocabulary as this word can be used in many different situations: 

¡Felicitaciones por tu cumpleaños! — Happy birthday! (Literally “congratulations on your birthday”)

¡Felicitaciones! — Congratulations! (General congratulations)

5. ¡Feliz Cumpleaños Atrasado! — Happy Belated Birthday!

Have you ever forgotten a family member’s birthday? Or maybe you overheard a conversation at work that it was your colleague’s birthday last weekend.

Even if you’re great at remembering birthdays and important dates, it’s worth learning these phrases! Instead of pretending it never happened, say “Feliz cumpleaños atrasado” (Happy belated birthday).

You can also say these phrases, which mean the same thing:

You know what they say: ¡Más vale tarde que nunca! (Better late than never!)

Birthday Well Wishes in Spanish

¡Que cumplas muchos más!May you celebrate many more birthdays!
¡Que tengas un feliz/lindo día!May you have a good day!
Disfruta de tu día.Enjoy your day!
¡Que se cumplan todos tus sueños/deseos!May all your dreams/wishes come true!
¡Pásalo/Pásala muy bien!Have a good time!
¡Que tengas un día especial! ¡Te lo mereces!Hope you have a special day! You deserve it!
Mis mejores deseos en tu cumpleaños.My best wishes on your birthday.

As you can see there are many different ways to wish someone a “happy birthday” in Spanish.

One of the best ways to become familiar with the phrases is by immersing yourself in native media to see how they are used by native speakers. There are many ways you can do this, such as watching native content in Spanish on YouTube, or for more practice you could try a language learning program like FluentU.

FluentU uses authentic content such as movie clips, music videos and interesting talks to immerse you in the language, so you can see how it’s really used in context by native speakers. Each video comes with interactive subtitles which you can hover over for definitions and more information about the words used.

By seeing the phrases and vocabulary used by native speakers, you’ll quickly pick up on their different meanings and when to use them.

FluentU is available to access on your browser or by downloading the iOS and Android app.

Basic Spanish Birthday Vocabulary

In addition to learning how to wish someone a “happy birthday” in Spanish, it’s also useful to know some basic birthday words and phrases to use when speaking Spanish with native speakers.

Birthday Words

SpanishEnglishExample Phrases
La fiesta de cumpleaños
Birthday partyMe ha invitado a su fiesta de cumpleaños.
(He has invited me to his birthday party.)
Los deseos
WishesQue se cumplan todos tus deseos.
(May all your wishes come true.)
El globo
BalloonTenemos que comprar más globos.
(We need to buy more balloons.)
El pastel/la tarta/la torta.
CakeMe encanta este pastel de chocolate.
(I love this chocolate cake)
Los regalos
GiftsElla recibió muchos regalos.
(She got a lot of presents.)
El confeti
Confetti¿Has traído el confeti?
(Have you bought the confetti?)
To celebrateVamos a celebrar el viernes.
(We are going to celebrate on Friday.)
Dar un regalo
To give a present¿Le has dado el regalo a Pablo ya?
(Have you given the present to Pablo yet?)
La canción de cumpleaños
Birthday songEsta es mi canción de cumpleaños favorita.
(This is my favorite birthday song.)
La piñata
PiñataEn la fiesta de cumpleaños de María había una piñata.
(There was a piñata at Maria's birthday party.)
Los invitados
GuestsHay al menos 50 invitados.
(There are at least 50 guests.)
La fiesta sorpresa
Surprise partyLe va a encantar la fiesta sorpresa.
(He's going to love the surprise party.)
Pedir un deseo
To make a wish¡Pide un deseo!
(Make a wish!)
Las velas
Candles¿Cuántas velas hay?
(How many candles are there?)

Birthday Phrases 

¿Cuántos años cumples?
How old are you turning?
¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?
When is your birthday?
¿Qué quieres para tu cumpleaños?
What do you want for your birthday?
¿Qué vas a hacer para tu cumpleaños?
What are you going to do for your birthday?

Singing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish 

A birthday celebration isn’t complete without singing “happy birthday!” It’s an essential part of the celebration, like it is in many different cultures around the world.

In Spanish, there are multiple birthday songs that you can choose from.

“Cumpleaños Feliz” (Happy Birthday to You) 

We have, of course, the traditional “Happy Birthday to You” song (“Cumpleaños Feliz” song), which is very popular in Spain:

¡Cumpleaños feliz! (Happy birthday!)

¡Cumpleaños feliz! (Happy birthday!)

Te deseamos todos, (We all wish you,)

¡Cumpleaños feliz! (Happy birthday!)

Note that in this Castilian Spanish version of the song, “feliz cumpleaños” has been switched around to “cumpleaños feliz.” 

You could also learn this variant of the same song:

¡Cumpleaños feliz! (Happy birthday!)

¡Te deseamos a ti! (We wish to you!)

¡Que los cumplas en tu día! (May you celebrate on your day!)

¡Que los cumplas feliz! (May you celebrate happily!)

Whatever song you choose to sing, make sure you sing loudly and make the person celebrating feel special on their birthday!

Birthday Traditions in the Spanish-speaking World

With such a large Spanish-speaking world, you can imagine that traditions can vary. In this final section we have included some of the most popular birthday traditions across several countries:

  • Argentina: One of the traditions people have in Argentina is pulling a child’s earlobe once for however many years old they are. They also hold a large Quinceañera party when a girl turns 15.
  • Chile: It’s very common to see pineapple cakes at birthday parties in Chile. It’s also very common to see the birthday boy or girl get frosting on their face while blowing out the candles.
  • Dominican Republic: If it’s your birthday, you can be sure people are going to throw water at you, no matter your age!
  • El Salvador: You might find a cake at a birthday party in El Salvador, but you most definitely will find tamales, which are simply one of the most delicious things on earth!
  • Honduras: People in Honduras get egged for their birthday. Guests smash an egg over the person’s head, and then throw flour and water at them. 
  • Mexico: A birthday party wouldn’t be a real birthday party in Mexico if there weren’t a piñata filled with candy. Traditionally, kids are blindfolded and given a bat or stick to hit the piñata until it bursts and releases all of the candy for people to pick up!
  • Peru: It’s very common in Peru for guests (yes, guests!) to get presents, or rather souvenirs, at birthday parties. The two most common gifts are a goody bag and a pin made in honor of the event.
  • Spain: One of the most interesting aspects of birthdays in Spain is that most people consider themselves to have two birthdays: the actual day they were born as well as their patron Saint’s day. For some, this means celebrating their birthday twice, or maybe only celebrating on the patron Saint’s day!
  • Venezuela: Here, people do their best to get your face into the birthday cake when it’s your birthday. It’s a symbol of good luck, so you better not try to resist!


From basic birthday vocabulary and phrases to songs and traditions, you now know how to celebrate birthdays in Spanish!

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