Has anyone greeted you a happy birthday in different languages? That must have been fun!
Whether someone greets you a happy birthday in your own language or in a different one, the love you get and feel is the same. In fact, in many places, most languages have their own version of ‘happy birthdays!’ Because we work with NAATI translators, our team are experts at language translation.
However, you probably already know that birthdays are not just about balloons, streamers and cakes, they’re also all about coming together and celebrating the past, present and future of your loved ones.
Next time one of your friends or relatives celebrate their birthday, wish them a happy birthday in different languages. They’ll be surprised! After all, who doesn’t like to hear a happy birthday from someone?
If you’re wondering about the different cultures and if they sing a Happy Birthday song to celebrate their birthdays, you definitely need to read on.
This article is all about learning how to say happy birthday in different languages around the globe and the cultural meanings behind them.
Let’s dive into the many ways to say happy birthday in different languages.
Afrikaans: Veels Geluk Met Jou Verjaarsdag
Just like the Dutch language, the Afrikaans greet their loved ones a happy birthday by saying ‘Veels Geluk Met Jou Verjaarsdag’ to mean “Congratulations on your birthday!” A lot of countries most often say ‘congratulations’ instead of saying ‘happy’.
In South Africa, the most significant age for them is the 21st birthday. The parents often give their child a gift that’s made from silver, gold or aluminium. This is done to symbolise the time to unlock the future and everything it has to offer!
Cantonese: 生日快樂 (Sang Yat Fai Lok)
Be very careful when giving birthday gifts! The Chinese believe that giving a pair of shoes or a clock brings bad luck as the words for these things are similar to the sound of the word ‘funeral’. Also, remember always to wrap your gifts in gold or red paper, especially when you’re gifting an elderly person. For expert, Chinese translation services, we can help.
Danish: Tillykke Med Fødselsdagen
The Danes always make a big deal about birthday celebrations. They greet each other by saying ‘Tillykke Med Fødselsdagen’ in Danish to say ‘Good wishes for your birthday!’ On your birthday cake, expect that you will have a miniature flagpole as the locals love their flag so much. Also, they make the best birthday songs.
As the birthday celebrant, you can choose which of the instruments the singers will pretend to play while they sing. It is one of the most lively events in a Danes’ life.
Dutch: Gefeliciteerd Met Je Verjaardag
Same as the Afrikaans language, you say mean ‘Congratulations on your birthday!’ when you greet your friends a happy birthday in the Dutch language. In the Netherlands, birthdays are always a big deal. Most people even keep a birthday calendar by the toilet so they will never forget!
It helps to remind them of their friends and loved ones’ birthdays because if you ever forget one, your loved ones will be sad. For the locals, the 50th birthday is the most celebrated birthday. During this time, people say that a person ‘sees’ Abraham or Sarah – referring to the couple who got pregnant at an old age in the Bible.
French: Bon Anniversaire
In the French language, people often wish one another a ‘Good Birthday!’. The birthdays celebrated in France are the same as the ones in English-speaking countries. There’s a big party, presents, cake and singing of the Joyeux Anniversaire.
One of the big differences that you may see is that the schoolchildren have the Wednesdays as off and go to school during Saturdays. For this reason, most birthday parties that you will attend in France are thrown on a Wednesday so the kids can all attend. During Sundays, it’s a family time, so a lot of parents don’t organise parties for this day.
In Quebec, on the other hand, you will mostly hear ‘Bonne fête!’ than ‘Bon Anniversaire’ which has a literal translation of ‘Good Party!’.
German: Alles Gute zum Geburtstag
In the German language, the phrase ‘Alles Gute zum Geburtstag’ is translated to ‘All the best on your birthday’. In Germany, birthday parties started way back in 1200 A.D. and are called as kiderfeste.
When your loved ones’ birthdays are near, don’t greet them a happy birthday since it is considered to be bad luck when you wish someone an early happy birthday. Based on the birthday celebrant’s age, fun celebrations are made. Some examples include dumping flour on you during your 16 birthday or having eggs cracked on your head during your 18th!
Italian: Buon Compleanno
In this list of happy birthday in different languages, there’s the Italian language.
What’s the most notable thing about an Italian’s birthday? They love to stay home. The cakes and all the food are most often homemade. However, on your 18th birthday, everyone will go all out. This includes hundreds of people wishing you a ‘good birthday’.
Japanese: お誕生日おめでとうございます (Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu)
‘Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu’ in Japanese when translated means ‘Congratulations on your birthday’! In the country, they celebrate the 7-5-3 or locally known as the Shichi-Go-San. These are considered to be lucky numbers and children will visit a Shinto shrine very 15th of November if their birthday that year was lucky. They go there to give thanks and pray for strength and good health. When the kids are three years old, they all go to the shrine. Boys go when they are five while girls go when they turn seven.
Korean: 생일 축하 (Saeng-il Chugha)
In Korea, you celebrate your very first birthday when you are 100 days old! The parents through a small feast to celebrate the life of their child. They will also try to predict the child’s future using the items he or she picks. The parents will skip over this day if the child is sick to avoid any bad luck. They also send rice cakes to their relatives and friends for long life. Lastly, they offer food including rice to Samshin Halmony for taking good care of their baby.
Which of the many ways to say happy birthday in different languages is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
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