¡Feliz cumpleaños! How to Say Happy Birthday in Spanish

Happy birthday in Spanish

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Another lap around the sun accomplished! We all like to feel special on our birthdays and be celebrated by our loved ones. If you have a Spanish-speaking friend who is having a birthday, then you should make them feel extra special by wishing them a happy birthday in Spanish!

In today’s post, we will learn how to say happy birthday in Spanish, along with other useful phrases to wish the best of birthdays. We will also explore the grammar behind the word cumpleaños in Spanish, and learn how to sing the happy birthday song in Spanish.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Happy Birthday in Spanish: Feliz Cumpleaños

Feliz cumpleaños is the most common way to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish. This phrase is universal among Spanish speakers and can be used with people of all ages, but it’s not the only one on the list.

Feliz cumple is a shorter and less formal version of feliz cumpleaños. This phrase is usually used among young people, but it’s not limited to them. Another option is feliz vuelta al sol, meaning happy complete turn around the sun, which is a bit more poetic, but not as commonly used. You can also congratulate people on their birthday saying felicidades, or the more formal felicitaciones.

So how do you say happy birthday in Spanish? Here are the easiest options:

  • Feliz cumpleaños – Happy Birthday
  • Feliz cumple – Happy Birthday
  • Feliz vuelta al sol – Happy turn around the sun
  • Felicidades – Congratulations
  • Felicitaciones – Congratulations

Birthday Wishes in Spanish

The Spanish birthday expressions we just covered work perfectly fine on their own to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish, but you can always elaborate if you wish to add a little more love to your birthday wish. Let’s see some other expressions you can use when offering happy birthday wishes in Spanish.

  • ¡Te deseo lo mejor! – I wish you the best!
  • ¡Pásala muy bien! – Have a great time!
  • ¡Que cumplas muchos más! – Hope you have many more [birthdays]!
  • ¡Que tengas un cumpleaños maravilloso! – Hope you have a wonderful birthday!
  • ¡Que tengas un día especial! – Hope you have a special day!

Happy Belated Birthday in Spanish

We’ve all forgotten to wish someone a happy birthday at one time or another. And we all know that the only redemption is to wish them a belated happy birthday.

We hope you don’t have to use this one too often and always remember the important dates of your loved ones, but to be prepared, the way to wish a happy belated birthday in Spanish is to add the word atrasado at the end:

  • ¡Feliz cumpleaños atrasado! – Happy belated birthday!

Spanish Birthday Phrases

Whether they’re asked of you or to someone else, there are certain phrases and questions that always come up around birthdays. The date, desired gifts, or age are the basis for some of these. Here are a few:

  • ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? – When is your birthday?
  • Mi cumpleaños es el 24 de julio. – My birthday is on July 24th.
  • ¿Cuántos años cumples? – How old are you turning?
  • Cumplo 16. – Estoy cumpliendo 16. – I’m turning 16.
  • ¿Qué vas a hacer en tu cumpleaños? – What are you going to do on your birthday?
  • Voy a hacer una fiesta. – I’m going to have a party.
  • ¿Qué quieres para tu cumpleaños? – What do you want for your birthday?
  • ¿De qué sabor te gusta el pastel? – What kind of cake flavor do you prefer?

In case you need a refresher, we recommend our post on how to write dates in Spanish.

The Meaning of Cumpleaños

We already know that feliz cumpleaños is happy birthday in Spanish, but do they mean the exact same thing? The short answer is no, and we’ll see why.

Cumpleaños is a noun formed by the words cumple, from the verb cumplir, which means to fulfill or complete something, and años, meaning years. Cumplir años would mean something like “to turn years” in English, so cumpleaños is the day you “turn a year.”

When used as a verb, cumplir años can have a few possible translations. It can even be understood as a noun in some contexts, simply meaning birthday. When it’s equivalent to “to turn X years”, the “años” at the end is optional. Cumplir conjugation follows the rules of regular -ir verbs. Let’s take a look:

  • Este año cumplo 21 años. – I turn 21 this year.
  • Ayer cumplí 32. Lo pasé muy bien. – I turned 32 yesterday. I had a great time.
  • No me gusta cumplir años – I don’t like getting older. – I don’t like having birthdays.
  • Luisa cumple años el 12 de diciembre. – Luisa’s birthday is December 12.

The Happy Birthday Song in Spanish

Just like in English, the happy birthday song in Spanish is a fundamental tradition when celebrating birthdays. However, there isn’t a universal song, but many with the same “happy birthday tune” and some variations in lyrics between them. There are also some very particular tunes that are traditional in some countries, like “Las Mañanitas” in México or “Ay, qué noche tan preciosa” in Venezuela.

Here, we’ll cover some of the most widely known Happy Birthday songs in Spanish, which are all very similar to the English version. We include our English translations directly after each one.

The Happy Birthday song in Spanish: First version

“¡Cumpleaños feliz,
te deseamos a ti!
¡Feliz cumpleaños (nombre)!
¡Cumpleaños feliz!”

“A Happy birthday
we wish to you!
Happy birthday, (name)!
Happy birthday!

The Happy Birthday song in Spanish: Second version

“Que los cumplas feliz.
Que los cumplas feliz.
Que los cumplas, (nombre).
Que los cumplas feliz.”

“May you have a happy birthday.
May you have a happy birthday.
May you have a happy birthday, (name).
May you have a happy birthday.”

The Happy Birthday song in Spanish: Third version

“¡Cumpleaños feliz!
¡Cumpleaños feliz!
¡Te deseamos todos
cumpleaños feliz!”

“Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
We all wish
happy birthday to you!

The Happy Birthday song in Spanish: Las Mañanitas

This is the traditional Mexican birthday song. That being said, many Latin Americans of other nationalities know it and sing it on birthdays as well. It is a bit of a long song, so we will only put the beginning, which is the most known and sung part.

“Estas son las mañanitas
Que cantaba el Rey David
Hoy por ser día de tu santo
Te las cantamos a ti
Despierta, mi bien, despierta
Mira que ya amaneció
Ya los pajaritos cantan
La luna ya se metió.”

“These are the mañanitas
That King David sang
Today being your saint’s day
We sing them to you
Wake up, my good, wake up
Look, the dawn is breaking
The birds are singing
The moon has already set.”


Gosh, birthdays are so fun! Before we say goodbye, let’s do a little review of what we learned today to make sure you have a good grip on how to say happy birthday in Spanish.

Starting with the basics, we learned that feliz cumpleaños is the standard way to wish happy birthday in Spanish. To take it a step further, we looked at some other happy birthday wishes in Spanish, and some useful phrases and questions related to birthdays. We also explored the meaning of the word cumpleaños itself to learn the similarities and differences between the English and Spanish versions.

To conclude, we learned that there is no universal Happy Birthday song in Spanish, but that it varies by country. Some cultures even have more traditional songs such as the Mexican song Las Mañanitas.

That’s all for today. We hope that now you will never miss the opportunity to wish everyone a very feliz cumpleaños. See you next time!


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