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How to say “Happy Birthday” in Spanish

Hey there, amigo! Is there a birthday approaching on your calendar for a Spanish-speaking friend or relative? Or are you simply fascinated by languages and eager to learn how to say “happy birthday” in Spanish? If so, you're in the right place! Today, we explore all the ways you can express birthday wishes in Spanish, from the timeless “feliz cumpleaños” to more distinct and regional phrases. So, let's add a sprinkle of Spanish charm to your birthday celebrations as we delve into saying “happy birthday” in Spanish!

The melting pot of Spanish-speaking countries

Spanish is the official language in 20 countries, making it one of the most widely spoken languages globally. With such a diverse set of Spanish-speaking nations, you can expect birthday celebrations, including phrases and traditions, will vary. Nonetheless, there are some commonly used expressions that we'll dig into, so you can wish a hearty “happy birthday” regardless of which region or country your friend hails from.

Standard ways to say “happy birthday” in Spanish

Spanish phraseEnglish meaningPronunciationFeliz cumpleañosHappy birthdayfeh-lees koom-pleh-ahn-yohs¡Feliz día!Happy day!feh-lees dee-ah¡Que cumplas muchos más!May you have many more!keh koom-plahs moo-chohs mahs

Feliz cumpleaños

Let's start with the basics. The universal way to say “happy birthday” in Spanish is “feliz cumpleaños” — pronounced “feh-lees koom-pleh-ahn-yohs.” This phrase is widely understood among Spanish speakers, no matter where they are in the world.

¡Feliz día!

Next in line is the delightful phrase “¡Feliz día!” — meaning “Happy day!” in English. This casual way of extending birthday wishes is popular across most Spanish-speaking countries.

¡Que cumplas muchos más!

What's a birthday without wishing the celebrant many more to come? Say “¡Que cumplas muchos más!”, which translates to “May you have many more!” in English. This warm phrase is perfect for expressing hopes for longevity and a life filled with birthday parties.

Customizing your birthday wishes

So, we've covered the standard ways of saying "happy birthday" in Spanish. But how about adding a personal touch to make your birthday person feel extra special?

Understanding formality: using tú and usted correctly

In Spanish, the “you” you use matters — a lot. “Tú” is used for informal situations and for people your age or those you know well. “Usted,” on the other hand, is used for formal situations, elders, or when you want to show respect. So, before you pen down your birthday wish, make sure you choose the right “you!”

Personal touches: cariño and amor

Add an extra layer of warmth to your birthday wishes with terms of endearment. “Cariño” (dear) and “amor” (love) are sweet words to use when wishing close friends and family a happy birthday, like “Feliz cumpleaños, cariño.”

Adding more substance to your birthday greeting

Why stop at “happy birthday” when you've already mastered this saying in Spanish? Here's how to extend your birthday wishes with more meaningful phrases.

Wishing a great day (Te deseo un gran día)

To convey your heartfelt wishes, you could say “Te deseo un gran día,” which means “I wish you a great day.” This phrase is a lovely way to wish someone a day filled with joy and celebrations.

Wishing happiness (Que seas muy feliz)

What's a birthday without a ton of happiness? Express this with the phrase “Que seas muy feliz,” which translates to “May you be very happy.” It's an uplifting wish, suitable for any birthday party.

Wishing good health (Que tengas buena salud)

For a beautiful and thoughtful wish, try “Que tengas buena salud,” which means “May you have good health.” After all, good health is truly the best gift anyone can receive.

Spanish birthday traditions

We've got the birthday wishes down, but what about birthday traditions? Every culture has its own unique ways of celebrating, and Spanish-speaking countries are no exception.

The birthday song: Las Mañanitas

Forget about the English “Happy Birthday to You.” In Latin America, “Las Mañanitas” is the classic birthday serenade. Here's a link to learn the song!

The capirotillo or mordida

Another widely practiced birthday tradition involves the birthday person taking a bite of their cake — with a playful twist. Friends gently push the birthday girl or boy's face into the cake as a fun prank. Though, we’d caution this isn’t for everyone!


This is one of the most well-known traditions in the Spanish-speaking world. When girls reach the age of 15, they celebrate their Quinceañera, which is a huge party to mark their transition from girlhood to womanhood. The Quinceañera often includes a religious ceremony, a lavish party with music and dancing, and the girl wearing a beautiful ball gown. This tradition has deep historical roots in Latin America, dating back to the ancient Aztecs.

La Última muñeca (The last doll)

In some Latin American countries, there’s another interesting tradition carried out during a girl's Quinceañera. The birthday girl is presented with a doll, which symbolizes the last doll she will ever receive — representing her leaving childhood behind. This tradition also has deep cultural and historical roots and is practiced in countries like Mexico and Argentina.


This fun-filled tradition is prevalent in many Spanish-speaking countries. The birthday person gets the honor of being blindfolded and attempting to break a piñata, which is usually a colorful paper-mache figure filled with sweets and small toys. This tradition was originally brought to Mexico by Spanish missionaries and has since become a staple at birthday parties.

Saint's Day celebration

In Spain, aside from celebrating one's birthday, many also celebrate their Saint's day or “día de santo.” Each day of the year is dedicated to a specific saint, and individuals named after that saint celebrate their saint's day much like a second birthday. This tradition comes from Spain's deeply rooted Catholic history and continues to this day.

Cumpleaños Feliz song

Lastly, the Cumpleaños Feliz song, similar to the English “Happy Birthday” song, is widely sung at birthday parties across Spain and many other Spanish-speaking countries. Despite the global influence of the English birthday song, many Spaniards still prefer the local Cumpleaños Feliz tune to celebrate their special day, keeping their unique cultural tradition alive.

Examples of birthday messages in Spanish

After mastering the basics of how to say “happy birthday” in Spanish, the next step is to make your birthday wishes more personalized and heartwarming. To help you express your best wishes in Spanish through writing, we’ve written some easy scripts for you. Feel free to use them as they are or tweak them to suit the birthday person's personality and your unique relationship with them.

Birthday messages for friends

Why not string these phrases together for longer, more personalized messages? For a friend, you could say something like: “¡Feliz día, amigo! Te deseo un gran día y que seas muy feliz en tu cumpleaños.” 

This translates to “Happy day, friend! I wish you a great day and may you be very happy on your birthday.”


“Amigo, ¡Feliz cumpleaños! Que todos tus sueños y deseos se cumplan en este año nuevo de vida. Te deseo un gran día lleno de alegría y celebraciones. ¡Salud!” 

This translates to: “Friend, Happy Birthday! May all your dreams and desires come true in this new year of life. I wish you a great day full of joy and celebrations. Cheers!”

“¡Feliz día, amiga! Espero que este día esté lleno de amor, risas y felicidad. Recuerda siempre: la vida es mejor con amigas como tú. ¡Cumple muchos más!”

This translates to: “Happy day, friend! I hope this day is full of love, laughter, and happiness. Always remember: life is better with friends like you. Have many more birthdays!”

Birthday messages for family members

And for a family member, consider: “¡Feliz cumpleaños, cariño! Que tengas buena salud y cumplas muchos más.” 

This translates to “Happy birthday, dear! May you have good health and many more birthdays to come.”

Message to a brother:

“¡Feliz cumpleaños, hermano! Agradezco cada día por tener un hermano tan maravilloso como tú. Deseo que tengas buena salud, mucha felicidad y que este nuevo año de vida te traiga éxito en todo lo que hagas. ¡Cumple muchos más!”

This translates to: “Happy birthday, brother! I appreciate every day for having such a wonderful brother like you. I wish you good health, lots of happiness, and may this new year of life bring you success in everything you do. Have many more birthdays!”

Message to a mom:

“¡Feliz cumpleaños, mamá! Eres la luz de nuestra familia y te mereces todo el amor y la felicidad del mundo. Espero que tengas un día tan maravilloso como tú. ¡Te amo mucho y que cumplas muchos más!”

This translates to: “Happy birthday, mom! You are the light of our family and you deserve all the love and happiness in the world. I hope you have a day as wonderful as you. I love you so much and may you have many more birthdays!”

Making a Spanish birthday special with iTranslate

Navigating the vibrant world of Spanish birthday celebrations becomes a breeze with iTranslate. Whether you're seeking the best ways to say happy birthday or need a reliable translation tool for other Spanish phrases, iTranslate has you covered.

Ready to join the fiesta? Download iTranslate for free today and make the next Spanish birthday party one to remember! After all, as the Spanish saying goes, “La vida es una fiesta” — life is a party!

Already conquered how to say “happy birthday” in Spanish? Master other Spanish-speaking basics with these guides:

How to say “hello” in Spanish

How to say “good morning” in Spanish

How to say “thank you” in Spanish

How to say “I love you” in Spanish

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