7 Expressions to Wish a Happy Birthday in Spanish

Have you ever wondered how to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish? Let’s face it: it’s very likely that you already have some friends or classmates who also speak Spanish. At some point, they will have a birthday. Wouldn’t you like to be able to congratulate them on their special day? 

Expressions to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish:

  1. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! – Happy birthday!
  2. ¡Felicidades en tu día! – Congratulations on your day!
  3. Desear un feliz cumpleaños – To wish a happy birthday
  4. ¡Feliz cumpleaños atrasado! – Belated happy birthday!
  5. ¡Felicidades! – Congratulations!
  6. ¡Que cumplas muchos más! – Hope you have many more!
  7. ¡Feliz aniversario! – Happy anniversary! 

If (unlike me) you’re a good friend that doesn’t forget about people’s birthdays, you should know a few expressions that allow you to congratulate your friends in Spanish. 

To help you with this, I’ve compiled 7 common expressions that you can use to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish. As usual, I’ll provide you with descriptions, examples and phrase structures so you know how and when to apply these expressions. 

By the end of this, you’ll be able to wish your friends and family a happy birthday in Spanish. 

1. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! – Happy birthday!

As you may have guessed, feliz cumpleaños is the direct translation of ‘happy birthday’, meaning that this is one of the most common ways to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish. 

‘¡Feliz cumpleaños!’ is a standard expression that not only you can use in any Spanish speaking country, but also it’s perfect for both formal and informal situations. Below there are some examples:

[Feliz cumpleaños] + [complement]

¡Megan, feliz cumpleaños! Pásatela bien.
Happy birthday, Megan! Have a great time.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, ! ¡Te quiero mucho!
Happy birthday, mom! I love you very much! 

Jossie, ¡feliz cumpleaños! Te mandamos un abrazote
Jossie, happy birthday! We send you a big hug!

Take Note: Among friends or in a more casual conversation, you can use the short version feliz cumple to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish. 

Amor, ¡feliz cumple! Thank you for everything.
Babe, happy birthday! Thank you for everything.

2. ¡Felicidades en tu día! – Congratulations on your day!

Another common way to wish a person a happy birthday in Spanish is by using the expression felicidades en tu día. This expression is slightly more formal than ‘feliz cumpleaños’. In fact, I only use it with acquaintances and people that I’m not very close to. 

However, whether you decide to use it depends on your personal preference. Felicidades en tu día means ‘congratulations on your day’. You can make this expression more formal by changing the possessive adjective.

Check these examples below: 

Felicidades en + [possessive adjective] + día + (complement)

¡Felicidades en su día, Patty y Laura!
Congratulations on your day, Laura and Patty!

Abue, ¡felicidades en su día! Muchos besos y abrazos
Pops, congratulations on your day! Kisses and hugs

Lenna, espero que te la pases muy bien, ¡felicidades en tu día!
Lenna, I hope you have a great time, congratulations on your day!

Take Note: Notice that in this context day (día) is a singular noun. This means that you will only be working with singular possessive adjectives. Think about it, as much as we would like to eat cake every day, we only have one birthday. As a result, día remains singular.   

3. Desear un feliz cumpleaños – To wish a happy birthday

In Spanish, desear un feliz cumpleaños is a popular phrase that we speakers use to wish someone a happy birthday. This expression can be translated as ‘to wish a happy birthday’ and it can be used in both formal and informal situations. 

Unlike other expressions in this list, desear un feliz cumpleaños works with a verb. In other words, you’ll need to conjugate ‘desear’ to customize your sentence. Additionally, there are some other elements that you’ll need to keep in mind. 

Check this structure as well as some examples of how to use these elements together:

[Indirect object pronoun] + [desear conjugated] + un feliz cumpleaños

Niños, ¿le desearon feliz cumpleaños a su papá?
Kids, did you wish your dad a happy birthday?

Zoey, tu tío y yo te deseamos un feliz cumpleaños
Zoey, your uncle and I wish you a happy birthday

Les deseamos un feliz cumpleaños, ¡muchas bendiciones!
We wish you a happy birthday, many blessings!

Take Note: Note that in the first example, we use the preposition ‘a’ to introduce the person having a birthday. This is useful when we’re talking with someone else and what to refer to the cumpleañero/a (birthday boy or girl).

4. ¡Feliz cumpleaños atrasado! – Belated happy birthday!

If you struggle to remember birthdays or for some reason you forgot to congratulate the cumpleañero or cumpleañera, ¡feliz cumpleaños atrasado!’ is here to help.

In Spanish, feliz cumpleaños atrasado is used to wish a late happy birthday. As a result, this expression is the direct translation of ‘happy belated birthday’ or ‘late happy birthday’. Like other phrases, ‘feliz cumpleaños atrasado’ is appropriate for both formal and informal contexts. 

‘¡Feliz cumpleaños tardío!’ is a more formal variation that also means ‘late happy birthday’. To be honest, I’ve always come across this expression in books, movies or extremely formal conversations. 

¡¿Ayer fue tu cumple?! ¡Betty, feliz cumpleaños atrasado!
Yesterday was your birthday? Happy belated birthday, Betty!

¡Más vale tarde que nunca! ¡Feliz cumpleaños atrasado, amiga!
Better late than never! Late happy birthday, buddy! 

Lau, ¡feliz cumpleaños atrasado! Espero que la hayas pasado bien
Lau, happy belated birthday I hope you had a great time

5. ¡Felicidades! – Congratulations!

In Spanish, felicidades means ‘congratulations’. Therefore, you could use this word to wish a happy birthday to someone else. Since this is a standard term, you can either use it in a formal or informal context. 

Something to keep in mind with this word is that you can use the word muchas to intensify the congratulations. Even though people may already know that you’re saying ‘felicidades’ because of their birthday, if you want, you could include this information as well. 

Tina, ¡muchas felicidades en tu cumpleaños!
Tina, congratulations on your birthday!

Amigo, ¡muchas felicidades! Te queremos mucho.
Buddy, congratulations! We love you very much.

Me acabo de enterar que fue tu cumpleaños, ¡felicidades!
I just found out that it was your birthday, congratulations!

6. ¡Que cumplas muchos más! – Hope you have many more!

¡Que cumplas muchos (años) más! is a casual phrase that expresses our wish that the people having a birthday remain with us and keep having more birthdays. As a result, this expression can be translated as ‘hope you have many more’. 

Given its nature, this expression tends to be used in more informal situations. Additionally, it can be combined with other expressions from this list.

[Expression] + que cumplas muchos más

¡Felicidades, mi niña! ¡Que cumplas muchos más!
Congratulations, my girl! I hope you have many more!

Te deseo un feliz cumpleaños, ¡que cumplas muchos más!
I wish you a happy birthday, I hope you have many more!

Espero que tengas un excelente día, ¡que cumplas muchos años más!
I hope you have an excellent day, I hope you have many years more!

Take Note: In Spanish, one of the uses of the verb ‘cumplir’ is used to talk about birthdays. In fact, cumplir años is the direct translation of ‘have a birthday’ or ‘going to turn’. If it’s clear that you’re referring to this topic, you can just use ‘cumplir’ instead of the whole expression cumplir años. 

7. ¡Feliz Aniversario! – Happy anniversary!

Feliz aniversario is also an expression that you use to say ‘happy birthday’ in Spanish. Although this expression is used in Spain and some Latin American countries, in some places this expression might be more formal. 

For example, in Mexico, when referring to a birthday, ‘feliz aniversario’ is only used in very formal situations.  

Paul, feliz aniversario, espero vernos pronto.
Paul, happy anniversary, I hope we see each other soon.

Lin, ¡feliz aniversario! Pásala bien con tus seres queridos.
Happy anniversary, Lin! Have a great time with your loved ones.

Take Note: Just like in English, in Spanish, feliz aniversario can be used when referring to other events. 

Corazón, ¡feliz aniversario número dos!
Honey, happy second anniversary 

Wrapping Up

If you have friends that speak Spanish, learning how to wish them a happy birthday in their own language can be a very nice gesture and a good opportunity to practice your Spanish. 

For that reason, in this article, we saw different expressions that you can use to say ‘happy birthday’ in Spanish. Remember that all of them have the same purpose, but, in some cases, some are more suitable for certain situations or people. 
Make sure you choose the most suitable option for you! Now, you know different expressions that you can use to congratulate the next cumpleañero o cumpleañera.

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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