Happy Birthday in the Top 5 Most Spoken Languages
Nearly every society around the world celebrates birthdays, but just as every culture is unique, so are their birthday customs and traditions. Today we’re going to look at how to wish someone a happy birthday in the most common spoken languages in the world and some of the birthday traditions within the cultures of those languages.
So, let’s get this party started, shall we?
01 Happy Birthday in Chinese: 生日快乐 (Shēngrì Kuàilè)
Birthdays in China are usually reserved for the very young or the very old; however, if you’re somewhere in between young and old, it’s still traditional to try to eat longevity noodles. Be careful and try not to break them as the longer they are, the longer your life and good fortune will last. Also, don’t expect a celebration if you’re a man turning 40, as this is considered bad luck. The same goes for women turning 30, 33, or 66.
02 Happy Birthday in Spanish: Feliz Cumpleaños
Most Spanish speaking countries love to celebrate the “happy completed years” – the literal translation of Feliz Cumpleaños. In Mexico, for example, after the guests sing their own traditional birthday song “Little Mornings” (Las Mañanitas), the birthday boy or girl doesn’t make a wish and blow out the candles on cake; rather they get the first bite of the cake, without using their hands or any utensils. As you can imagine, they usually end up with a face full of cake, as one of their relatives trying shoving their whole face in the cake with everyone shouting, “Mordida! Mordida!” (“Bite! Bite!”). It’s all in good fun, however, and later the birthday boy or girl can take out their frustrations on the piñata and share their candy with all of their guests.
03 Happy Birthday in French: Bon Anniversaire
The French celebrate their birthdays pretty much the same way as they do in English speaking countries, only you’ll probably hear “Joyeux Anniversaire” sung to the tune of the familiar “Happy Birthday to you” song. Also, you’re more likely to be invited to a birthday party on a Tuesday night or Wednesday as nearly all French schoolchildren go to school on Saturdays and take Wednesdays off.
04 Happy Birthday in Hindi: जन्मदिन की शुभकामनाएं (Janmadin Kee Shubhakaamanaen)
Throughout India, you’ll find that birthdays are mixed celebrations of both Western and Hindi traditions. The birthday boy or girl starts with blessings at the temple, lots of prayer, and anointment of rice and turmeric paste. Later in the day you’ll find friends and family gathered for the cake cutting and singing of the traditional Happy Birthday to You.
05 Happy Birthday in Arabic: كُل عام وإِنْتَ بخير (kul eam w’iint bikhayr)
“Each and every year you are fine.” In many Arabic speaking countries, birthdays aren’t usually big on the list of celebrations, but when they are celebrated, they’re customs are pretty much the same as the West with cake cutting – the birthday boy or girl cuts the first slice for themselves, usually with the sharp end of the knife facing up while cutting for good luck – and again, the traditional singing of “Happy Birthday to You” followed by the Arabic version sung to the same tune:
|“Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)|
Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)
Sana Helwa, Sana Helwa
Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)”
|“Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One,|
Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One,
Happy Birthday, Happy birthday,
Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One.”
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