How To Say Happy Birthday In the German Language: Best wish, Great quotes
How To Say Happy Birthday In German. Photo: Youtube

German birthday party

There are numerous traditions and rituals to celebrate someone’s birthday in Germany and depending on where in Germany you are, these might vary slightly.

There are, however, a few things that are custom throughout the whole of Germany.

Throw Your Own Party

You’ve read that one correctly – when it comes to celebrating your birthday in the land of Apfelschorle and Elfmeterschießen, you are expected to throw the big party yourself, if you would like one (!).

Whether it comes to your kid’s birthday bash or celebrating your 50th birthday with your closest friends, it is expected that the birthday boy/girl shows some initiative and plans the party and all of its details.

That is not to say that surprise birthday parties thrown by close friends aren’t a thing, but generally speaking, the “responsibility” of celebrating your birthday and finding a venue to do so is on the person whose special day it is.

Bring Your Own Cake

Just as with celebrating your birthday, it is expected from the birthday boy/girl to bring cake or other sweet goods either to school or to the office for those who are not celebrating their birthday to enjoy. Sounds pretty weird? It kind of is.

While it seems to be a strange custom, I can guarantee you it will make you very popular with your fellow students or co-workers.

Make a Wish!

This is pretty much the same as in, for example, the United States and other places of the world. When blowing out the candles on your cake you can make a wish (if you’d like to do so).

However, you’re not supposed to tell anyone – if you do so, the wish will not come true. Also, if you miss some candles and are not able to blow them out at the first attempt, the wish won’t come true either (although most people are not very strict about this, especially when it comes to children blowing out their birthday candles).

Birthday Wreaths

Apart from the tradition of candles on a birthday cake, there is also something called a “Birthday Wreath”. Usually, it is a small wreath of flowers with a candle in the middle. Some families also like to use a wooden circle which has a number of candles in it (one candle for each year of the person’s life) plus one big candle in the middle of the circle to symbolize good luck.

This wooden “wreath” is usually used up to age twelve and more popular for kids’ birthdays, but my family still uses our flower wreath every year and for every family member, despite the fact that every one of us is above the age of twelve, according to Clozemaster.

Spoken Birthday Wish

How To Say Happy Birthday In the German Language: Best wish, Great quotes
Photo: floraqueen

The following phrases first show how to say happy birthday in German, followed by the translation in English. Note that the translations are the English equivalents and not literal, word-for-word translations.

  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! > Happy birthday!
  • Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! > Have a good birthday!
  • All das Beste zum Geburtstag! > All the best on your birthday!
  • Viel Glück zum Geburtstag! > Best of luck on your birthday!
  • Ich gratuliere Ihnen zu Ihrem 40/50/60 etc. > Congratulations on your 40/50/60th etc. birthday.
  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch nachträglich. > Happy belated birthday.

Read more: Say 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY' with Top 20 Popular Languages in the World

Written Birthday Greetings

You can write all of the above-mentioned expressions on a card, but if you want something a little more ausführlicher (detailed), you may want to try some of these expressions.

  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag und viel Glück/Erfolg im neuen Lebensjahr! > Happy birthday and much happiness/success in the new year.
  • Ich wünsche dir zu deinem Geburtstag alles Liebe und Gute—verbringe einen wunderschönen Tag im Kreise deiner Lieben. > I wish you all the best on your birthday. May you spend a wonderful day surrounded by those you love.
  • Ich wünsche dir einen herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag und alles Liebe und Gute und ganz viel Gesundheit und Spaß. Lass dich schön feiern. > I wish you a happy birthday and all the best and much health and fun. Have a good time celebrating.
  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch und alles Gute zum Geburtstag wünscht dir (your name). > I wish you happy birthday and all the best on this day.
  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum (birthday number)sten und alles Gute. > Happy Xth birthday and all the best.

Happy Birthday From All Over Germany

Not every city or town in Germany says happy birthday the same way. You may run into variations in dialect, depending on where you are in the country and where the birthday Junge oder Mädchen, Mann oder Frau (boy or girl, man or woman) lives. The city or region is listed on the left, followed by the German happy birthday greeting and then the English translation.

  • Bayern (Bavaria): Ois Guade zu Deim Geburdstog! > Happy birthday!
  • Berlin: Alles Jute ooch zum Jeburtstach! > All the best on your birthday!
  • Friesland: Lokkiche jierdei! > Happy birthday!
  • Hessen (Hesse): Isch gratelier Dir aach zum Geburtstach! > I congratulate you on your birthday.
  • Köln (Cologne): Alles Juute zum Jeburtstaach! > All the best on your birthday!
  • Norddeutschland (Plattdeutsch -> Low German): Ick wünsch Di alls Gode ton Geburtsdach! > I wish you all the best on your birthday.

Sincere birthday wishes in German

How To Say Happy Birthday In the German Language: Best wish, Great quotes
Photo: bestanimations

- Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag und alles Gute, wünscht dir [name].

Heartfelt congratulations on your birthday and all the best wishes to you [name].

This is a very general birthday greeting and makes for a great message to anyone you’re not super close to, yet you feel an obligation to wish them a happy birthday.

- Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! Für das neue Lebensjahr wünsche ich dir nur das Beste. Mögen alle deine Wünsche in Erfüllung gehen!

Heartfelt congratulations on your birthday! I’m wishing you only the best for the new year of your life. May all your wishes come true!

This is a bit more personal and can be sent to friends and family.

- Zum Geburtstag wünsche ich dir 12 Monate Gesundheit, 52 Wochen Glück, 365 Tage voller Liebe, 8,760 Stunden ohne Stress, 525,600 Minuten Frieden und 31,536,000 Sekunden Freude.

For your birthday I’m wishing you 12 months of good health, 52 weeks of good luck, 365 days full of love, 8,760 hours without stress, 525,600 minutes of peace, and 31,536,000 seconds of joy.

A playful way to wish someone a Happy Birthday or to make someone painfully aware of how fast time is passing by.

- Ich wünsche dir einen wunderschönen Geburtstag. Lass dich feiern und genieße deinen Ehrentag.

I’m wishing you a wonderful birthday. Let yourself be celebrated and enjoy your special day.

Another great staple message without too much commitment.

- Alles Liebe zum Geburtstag! Ich wünsche dir Liebe und Geborgenheit, Vertrauen und Anerkennung, Mut und Zuversicht, Fröhlichkeit und Leichtigkeit, Gesundheit und Stärke, Ruhe und Gelassenheit.

All the best for your birthday! I’m wishing you love and comfort, trust and recognition, courage and confidence, happiness and lightness, health and strength, peace and serenity.

We would recommend only writing this in someone’s birthday card if you’re close to the person in question. I have seen this message plenty of times, in multiple variations, exchanged between parents, grandparents and other family members.

- Alles Liebe und Gute zum Geburtstag! Feier schön und lass dich reich beschenken.

All the best for your birthday! Have a great celebration and may you receive plenty of gifts.

The last part of this birthday message (“lass dich reich beschenken”) is very popular and will definitely fit nicely into any birthday card. It literally translates to “let yourself receive a richness of gifts”. Who wouldn’t like that?

- Einen dicken Kuss, eine feste Umarmung und die herzlichsten Glückwünsche zu deinem Geburtstag!

A big kiss, a tight hug, and the most heartfelt congratulations for your birthday!

A very warm birthday message, which should be used for people who would be happy to receive a big kiss and a tight hug from you. Keep that in mind.

- Zum Geburtstag wünsche ich dir, dass du das Glück niemals suchen must. Ich wünsche dir, dass es dich findet, wo immer du auch bist.

For your birthday I wish you, that you never have to look for luck. I hope it finds you, wherever you are.

Genuine and loving. You can’t go wrong with that one.

- Mögen die glücklichsten Tage deines vergangenes Lebenjahres die schlechtesten des neuen sein.

May the happiest days of the past year of your life be the worst ones of the new one.

Deep and a bit philosophical, for the ones who want to march to a different drummer.

The History of German Birthdays

Let’s start off immediately with a bit of what not to do for German birthdays. You see, typically in America and beyond, it would be perfectly normal to wish someone a happy birthday a few days in advance, especially if you won’t see them again until after the special day.

However, in German culture, doing this is considered a social taboo and is said to bring about bad luck. Some more superstitious folk might even be extremely offended if you do this, so make sure you have the date right before you congratulate someone on their birthday.

This includes gifts as well, so when you order a fantastic gift, make sure you specify the correct date…but don’t worry, we can deliver any day at any time, Floraqueen reported.

What to Get for A German Birthday?

How To Say Happy Birthday In the German Language: Best wish, Great quotes
Photo: mylifeingermany

The gifts you can get for a German person on their birthday are pretty similar to the gifts you could get for any American or other European. There are no specific traditions associated with the type of gift you get, so follow the typical etiquette, and you should be fine.

Of course, if you need some help, we have a wide selection of beautiful bouquets, chocolates, and more available for you to get delivered, whenever you want, wherever you want.

So, what should you buy? Well, it depends. Is it your sweetheart’s birthday? Get her a beautiful box of chocolates, a cute little teddy bear, and a bouquet of romantic flowers. Orchids are a great choice, or you can be a classic ladies’ man and get her some red roses.

Of course, you could go a little bit fancier, and get your love an expensive piece of jewelry. Just make sure to balance this out with something big and flashy like a large bouquet to really drive home just how much you love her.

For a lady who isn’t your significant other, you could get some lilies delivered. The Lillie symbolizes happiness, so they are an excellent choice for your mother or the mother of a partner.

For a male figure, a bottle of nice whiskey or scotch is always a great choice. For an intellectually sophisticated man, you could go with a good book and a fancy pen. It all depends on what type of man you’re buying for. Men are harder to shop for than women, so try to get an idea of just who you are buying for, and what they like.

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