How to say happy birthday in Italian: 11 steps (with pictures)

How to say happy birthday in Italian: 11 steps (with pictures)
How to say happy birthday in Italian: 11 steps (with pictures)

The easiest way to say 'happy birthday' in Italian is 'buon compleanno', but there are also several other expressions commonly used in this language to mean the same thing. You may also find it helpful to familiarize yourself with various phrases related to birthdays and the Italian version of the song that celebrates this holiday.


Part 1 of 3: wish a happy birthday

Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 1

Step 1. Do you exclaim "buon compleanno!"

This is the most direct way of wishing your interlocutor his birthday, it is the literal translation of "happy birthday".

  • "Buon" means "good" and "compleanno" means "birthday".
  • The complete sentence is pronounced "bou-on kom-plé-a-no".
Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 2

Step 2. Wish "tanti auguri!"

The exact translation of this expression is not "happy birthday". You will also notice that the term “compleano” (anniversary) does not appear there. It is, however, a phrase equivalent to "best wishes" that Italians frequently use to attract good fortune to their interlocutor on their birthday.

  • The exact meaning of "tanti" is "much" and "auguri", is the plural of the noun "augurio", the vow. We can therefore literally translate this sentence as “many wishes”.
  • This expression is pronounced: "tan-ti aou-gou-ri".
Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 3

Step 3. Try "cento di questi giorni!"

Here is another formula which, although it does not explicitly mention birthdays, can be used to wish them. In essence, it is equivalent to wishing the boy or girl you are talking to celebrating a hundred birthdays, that is, having a very long life.

  • "Cento" means "hundred", "di" is the preposition "of", "questi" the demonstrative pronoun "ces" and "giorni" means "days". So a literal translation of this phrase is "one hundred of these days!" "
  • It is pronounced: "tchen-to di kouè-sti djior-ni".
  • Note that you can also make it shorter by saying "cent'anni" for "hundred years!" "

    Pronounce this time: "tchen-ta-ni"

Part 2 of 3: Talking About Birthdays

Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 4

Step 1. Send your wishes to the “festeggiato”

This is the person celebrating their birthday. The literal translation of this word would be “the one we celebrate”.

  • The word “festeggiato” comes from the verb “festeggiare”, which means “to celebrate”.
  • Pronounce it like this: “fes-té-jia-to”.
Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 5

Step 2. Ask for age

The phrase to use is “quanti anni hai? "This formulation allows you to indirectly know the age of your interlocutor without directly asking" how old are you? This is a more delicate twist that allows you to ask the person "how old are you?""

  • "Quanti" means "how much", "anni" means "years" and "hai" corresponds to the second person singular of the verb to have.
  • Pronounce the question like this: "kou-an-ti a-ni aïe".
Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 6

Step 3. Talk about old age

The usual formula is “essere avanti con gli anni”. The general meaning of this sentence is that the person in question has "taken from the bottle", which is a laudatory way of saying that he has aged, but also gained in wisdom.

  • "Essere" corresponds to the verb "to be", "avanti" means "forward", "con" translates the preposition "with", "gli" the article "the" and "anni" means "years". The literal meaning of the whole expression is "to move forward with the years" or, less literally, "to advance in age".
  • This expression is pronounced: "ès-sé-ré a-va-nti kon gli a-ni"
Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 7

Step 4. Announce your own birthday

Say for that "oggi compio gli anni". Literally, it means "today, I complete the year", which is equivalent to "today is my birthday".

  • "Oggi" means "today", "compio" is the first person singular form of the verb "compiere" (complete), "gli" corresponds to "the" and "anni" means "years".
  • This sentence is pronounced "o-dji kom-pio gli a-ni".
Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 8

Step 5. Say how old you are

To do this, answer your contact "sto per compiere xx anni". This twist expresses the fact that you will soon reach a certain age (which you will put in the place of xx), but it is more used among young people than by older generations. Literally, it corresponds to "I will soon pass the milestone of (a number) years".

  • To tell your age, just fill in the blank. For example, if you are about to turn eighteen it will be “sto per compiere diciotto anni”.
  • "Sto" means "I am", "per" is equivalent to "for", "compiere" to "complete" and "anni" means "years".
  • Pronounce this expression like this: "sto pèr kom-pir-é xx a-ni"

Part 3 of 3: sing the happy birthday song

Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 9

Step 1. Keep the usual melody

Even if the lyrics are not the same, the Italian version of the song "happy birthday" is sung to the exact same tune as the French version which you most likely already know.

Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 10

Step 2. Repeat “tanti auguri” several times

As unbelievable as it sounds, the most frequent lyrics in the song "happy birthday" don't mention the word "birthday" at all. It is in fact the formula "best wishes" which replaces it.

  • Then you have to sing "a te" ("a ti"), which means "yours".
  • The lyrics of this song are:

    • “Tanti auguri a te”;
    • “Tanti auguri a te”;
    • “Tanti auguri a (first name)”;
    • "Tanti auguri a te!" "
Say Happy Birthday in Italian Step 11

Step 3. Replace with “buon compleanno”

Even if it is not very common to do this, it is possible to place the expression equivalent to the "happy birthday" of the French version in the song in Italian.

  • As in the version with “tanti auguri”, you will continue with “a te” (“a ti”), which means “yours”.
  • In this version, the lyrics will therefore be:

    • “Buon compleanno a te”;
    • “Buon compleanno a te”;
    • "Buon compleanno a (first name)";
    • «Buon compleanno a te! "

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