happy-birthday-in-spanish

Happy Birthday! Celebrate in Spanish with Songs, Phrases and Fun Facts

Did your Uruguayan crush just invite you to their birthday party?

Did your Spanish co-worker show up to the office today with a big cake?

Or maybe you’re turning one year older while on vacation in a Spanish-speaking country?

Whatever you need this Spanish birthday post for, you’ve come to the right place.

So, let’s celebrate! In Spanish!

Birthdays are important for everyone, whether they’re from the Spanish-speaking world or elsewhere.

You may already know that Spanish-speaking people love celebrating, and when it comes to our birthdays, we throw colorful parties, hit huge piñatas, eat cakes and enjoy ourselves like there’s no tomorrow.

Maybe you’ve been invited to your first Spanish birthday party and you want be cool and say “Happy birthday!” in Spanish. This post is going to teach you everything you need to know so that you can shine with your mastery of the Spanish language in a birthday situation.

But, since you’re already here, why not learn a little bit of Spanish along the way instead of simply memorizing wishes?

Let’s have a look at the Spanish word for birthday (cumpleaños) and everything around it!
 


 

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What’s in a Cumpleaños?

The word cumpleaños is a very interesting one for quite a few reasons.

For starters, it totally looks like a plural noun. It ends in -os, doesn’t it? Well, surprise, surprise! It’s singular!

And they say the Spanish plural is easy…

In fact, cumpleaños is singular and a compound word. Compound words are formed by putting words together in order to create a new one. The word cumpleaños is a fusion of the words cumple (from the verb cumplir – to fulfill, to accomplish) and años (years).

And just like every other compound word in Spanish, it’ll always be masculine.

So we have el cumpleaños (the birthday), and its invariable plural los cumpleaños (the birthdays).

But there’s more!

Cumplir isn’t in the word cumpleaños by accident. In Spanish, you say cumplir años, which literally translates into “to complete/finish/fulfill years.” As you may guess, this means that cumplir años is the Spanish equivalent of “to turn one year older” or “to have one’s birthday.” In short, every time Father Time makes you complete another year, you cumples años in Spanish.

The word cumpleaños and the verb phrase cumplir años can be used in some different ways, and they sometimes can be interchangeable:

Mi cumpleaños es el 27 de agosto. (My birthday is on August 27th.)

Cumplo años el 27 de agosto. (My birthday is on August 27th.)

El cumpleaños de María es el jueves. (María’s birthday is on Thursday.)

María cumple años el jueves. (María’s birthday is on Thursday.)

As you can see, the word order in the sentences is different (cumpleaños is a noun, while cumplir años is a verb), but the meaning is practically the same, so choose the option you like the most.

Cumplir años can also be used as in English with a specific number.

Say someone’s turning 27. In Spanish you’d say cumplir 27 (años).

Here are a couple of examples:

Pepe cumplirá 30 el mes que viene. (Pepe will turn 30 next month.)

Cumplo 21 años en diciembre. (I’ll be turning 21 in December.)

Such cute, little words, and so much info to squeeze out of them.

But this is just a snack. There’s much more to say about birthdays in Spanish, and the following paragraphs will teach you everything there is to know about them, so that you become a Birthday Master in no time.

Let’s get this party started!

Happy Birthday! Celebrate in Spanish with Songs, Phrases and Fun Facts

Cumplir años is something most of us hate doing but love celebrating.

Spanish-speaking folks don’t like getting older, but for sure they don’t mind talking about their age and their birthday with their closest friends and family when the situation arises.

Here’s how to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish:

How to Say Happy Birthday in Spanish

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

¡Feliz cumpleaños! (Happy birthday!)
This is the most common way of wishing someone a happy birthday.

¡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.

The best part? You don’t have to conjugate any verbs or worry about adjective agreement at all!

Make sure you learn these phrases well. Not only are they your basic, go-to phrases for wishing someone a happy birthday—they’ll also show up in tons of the birthday songs we’ll cover later on.

In case you want to have a deeper conversation with one of your native-speaking friends, here is a ton of info you can use to ask and answer questions about birthdays:

Basic Birthday Vocabulary

There are a lot of universal words that are present (no pun intended) in almost any birthday sentence around the world.

Here you have some Spanish birthday vocabulary so you can enrich your conversations:

la fiesta de cumpleaños (the birthday party)
Me ha invitado a su fiesta de cumpleaños. (He has invited me to his birthday party.)

los deseos (the wishes)
Que se cumplan todos tus deseos. (May all your wishes come true.)

el globo (the balloon)
Tenemos que comprar más globos. (We need to buy more balloons.)

el pastel/la tarta/la torta (the cake)
Me encanta este pastel de chocolate. (I love this chocolate cake.)

los regalos/los presentes (the gifts/presents)
¡Cuántos regalos! (What a bunch of presents!)

el confeti (the confetti)
¿Has traído el confeti? (Have you brought the confetti?)

la celebración/celebrar (the celebration/to celebrate)
Hoy es un día de celebración. (Today is a day for celebrating/for a celebration.)

el sombrero de fiesta (the party hat)
Necesitamos otro sombrero de fiesta. (We need one more party hat.)

dar un regalo (to give a gift/present)
¿Le has dado el regalo a Pablo ya? (Have you given the present to Pablo yet?)

la canción de cumpleaños (the birthday song)
Esta es mi canción de cumpleaños favorita. (This is my favorite birthday song.)

la piñata (the piñata)
En la fiesta de cumpleaños de María había una piñata. (There was a piñata at María’s birthday party.)

los invitados (the guests)
Hay al menos 50 invitados. (There are at least 50 guests.)

la sorpresa (the surprise)
Le va a encantar la sorpresa. (He’ll love the surprise.)

la fiesta sorpresa (the surprise party)
La fiesta sorpresa fue todo un éxito. (The surprise party was a success.)

partir/cortar el pastel (to cut the cake)
Es la hora de partir el pastel. (It’s time to cut the cake.)

felicitar (to congratulate)
No te olvides de felicitar a Paula. (Don’t forget to congratulate Paula.)

desear (to wish)
Te deseo todo lo mejor. (I wish you all the best.)

pedir un deseo (to make a wish)
¡Pide un deseo! (Make a wish!)

las velas (the candles)
¿Cuántas velas hay? (How many candles are there?)

Now that we know some words related to birthdays, let’s talk a little bit about them.

Talking and Asking About Birthdays

Here you have some questions and answers you can use at birthday parties or whenever you want to talk about cumpleaños. Use them wisely!

¿Cuántos años cumples? (How old are you turning?)

Hoy cumplo 27. (I’m turning 27 today.)

Prefiero no decirlo. (I prefer not to say it.)

¿Cuántos caen? “(lit. “How many are falling?” / How old are you turning? [very informal])

Este año caen 27. (I’m turning 27 this year.)

¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? (When’s your birthday?)

Mi cumpleaños es el viernes. (My birthday’s on Friday.)

¿Cuándo es el cumpleaños de Pedro? (When is Pedro’s birthday?)

Es el 15 de mayo. (It’s on May 15th.)

¿Qué quieres para tu cumpleaños? (What do you want for your birthday?)

¿Qué quieres que te compre/regale para tu cumpleaños? (What do you want me to buy/give you for your birthday?)

No necesito/quiero nada, gracias. (I don’t need/want anything, thanks.)

No me compres nada, por favor. (Don’t buy me anything, please.)

Me encantaría recibir un/una… (I’d love to get a…)

¿Qué vas a hacer por tu cumpleaños? (What are you going to do for your birthday?)

¿Qué planeas hacer por tu cumpleaños? (What are you planning to do for your birthday?)

Voy a dar una gran fiesta. (I’m having a big party.)

Lo celebraré con mi familia/mis amigos. (I’m celebrating it with my family/my friends.)

Este año no daré ninguna fiesta. (I’m not having any party this year.)

No lo voy a celebrar este año. (I’m not celebrating it this year.)

Birthday Songs

Another key component of birthdays are birthday songs.

In Spanish, there are different birthday songs.

We’ve provided their loose translations here, but remember that with songs and poems—as with other aspects of language learning—it’s sometimes more important to understand the feeling and meaning of the song than the literal translation. This is especially true for phrases like que los cumplas en tu día—literally, “may you fulfill them on your day”—which could be better translated as something like “may you celebrate on this, your birthday.”

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!)

And this variant of the same:

¡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!)

We also have the song “Feliz, Feliz En Tu Día” (Happy, Happy in Your Day), made very popular by Spain’s favorite clowns Gaby, Miliki and Fofito:

¡Feliz, feliz en tu día! (Happy, happy in your day!)

¡Amiguito, que Dios te bendiga! (Little friend, may God bless you!)

Que reine la paz en tu día, (May peace rule your day,)

¡Y que cumplas muchos más! (And may you celebrate many more [birthdays]!)

Then you have “Las Mañanitas” (The Little Mornings, or The Morning Serenades), a very popular song mainly sung in Mexico:

Estas son las mañanitas (These are the morning serenades)

Que cantaba el rey David. (that King David used to sing.)

Hoy, por ser tu cumpleaños, (Today, since it’s your birthday,)

Te las cantamos a ti. (We sing them to you.)

And also this cute version by the Leoncito Alado (Winged Little Lion):

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

¡Te deseamos a ti! (We wish to you!)

¡Que los cumplas, (May you celebrate,)

¡Que los cumplas, (May you celebrate,)

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

happy-birthday-in-spanish

By the way, that last one is also available on FluentU for extra practice! FluentU is an immersive platform that turns real-world Spanish videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—into unique language-learning experiences. Each FluentU video comes equipped with interactive subtitles in English and Spanish, so you can follow along as you watch, work on your pronunciation and quickly see translations in real time. Stuck on a particular word? Simply click on it and you’ll see a pop-up with a definition and real-world example sentences.

FluentU is perfect for learning Spanish songs like the ones you’ll sing at birthday parties. Think of it as the ultimate language learners’ karaoke resource. Once you’ve finished with the above song, you can also check out this birthday song by Pocoyó, also on FluentU. It may not be the most well-known, but it sure is catchy! Take a few minutes to learn the lyrics on FluentU and surprise your friends with it.

happy-birthday-in-spanish

Check out FluentU’s free trial today!

Birthday Expressions and Wishes

You have the basic vocabulary and the singing material, but what about the expressions and wishes?

Let’s say you want to move beyond the basic feliz cumpeaños. Maybe you’re looking for something a little more heartfelt and unique to say to the birthday boy or birthday girl.

Birthdays are all about wishing good things upon your friends and family, and here, you’ll learn how to do it in Spanish:

¡(Muchas) Felicidades! (lit. “Happinesses” / Congratulations!)
This is a common way of wishing someone well. This expression doesn’t contain the word cumpleaños in it, so it can be used in any other situation when you want to congratulate someone, not only a birthday.

¡Felicitaciones! (Congratulations!)
This expression has the same meaning as Felicidades, but I’ve only heard it in South American countries, hardly ever in Spain.

¡Que cumplas muchos más! (May you celebrate many more [birthdays]!)
Another common expression on birthdays. Notice how the wish starts with que and it’s followed by the subjunctive. Yes, even birthdays and wishes have their grammar tidbits!

¡Felicidades en tu día! (Congratulations on your day!)
Mainly used for birthdays, but also for name days and weddings.

Que tengas un feliz/lindo día. (May you have a happy/beautiful day.)
Another example of a wish with que and the subjunctive.

Ten un feliz/lindo día. (Have a happy/beautiful day.)
This is an imperative, a command, but it’s also very commonly heard in Spanish. Not all commands are rude, and some of them are wishes!

¡Que disfrutes de tu día! (Enjoy your day!)
Just as Que tengas un feliz día, this expression can be used on different occasions.

Disfruta de tu día. (Enjoy your day.)
Another wish in the form of an imperative.

¡Que se cumplan todos tus sueños/deseos! (May all your dreams/wishes come true!)
If you want to boast and show how awesome your Spanish is, this is the way to go!

¡Que todos tus sueños/deseos se hagan realidad! (May all your dreams/wishes come true!)
Different words, same meaning as above.

¡Que lo/la pases muy bien! (May you have a great time!)
Notice the lo/la bit. Lo is mainly used in Spain, while la is commonly used in Latin America.

¡Pásalo/la muy bien! (Have a great time!)
The meaning of this one is exactly the same as the previous expression. It’s just a different grammatical construction, again subbing out the subjunctive mood for a command.

Birthday Traditions

We’re celebrating, but at FluentU we wouldn’t be ourselves if we didn’t teach you a few cultural facts, too.

You now know all the vocabulary, expressions and wishes related to cumpleaños in Spanish, but you may also want to know what birthday traditions are like in Spain and Latin America. After all, Spanish is officially spoken in 21 countries, which also means there are many different traditions regarding the celebration of such an important day.

Let’s have a look at some of them:

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 celebrate the 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 in their face while blowing out the candles.

Dominican Republic

It’s all about water here. 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. However, the traditional choice is to make 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. Messy!

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.

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 birthday traditions I like the most in Spain is seeing kids bring candy to school and sharing it with their classmates during recess.

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!

 

And that’s all for today, kids!

Now you know everything you need to celebrate a birthday in Spanish.

The basic vocabulary will help you to build sentences and talk about birthdays. The songs will let you practice your Spanish while making your friends happy, and the wishes will be the icing on their cake.

You have the tools. Now, who’ll bring the cake?

Stay festive, my friends, and as always, happy birthday!

Oops, I mean, happy learning!
 

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