Wishing Someone a Happy Birthday In German

Happy Birthday
Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, Mama!. Morsa Images / Getty Images

Do you have a German friend or family member who is having a birthday? Before learning how to say "Happy Birthday" in German though, you need to know about one important cultural point especially among older Germans: Wishing a German a happy birthday before their birthday is considered bad luck, so don't do it. And as for gifts and cards you may want to send, just make sure to state to them that they should open the package on their birthday.

Spoken Birthday Expressions

(Please note that the following translations are the English equivalents and not literal 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.)​

Written Birthday Expressions

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

  • 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 exact same way. Here are some variations you may run into, depending on where you are in the country.

  • Bayern (Bavaria): Ois Guade zu Deim Geburdstog!
  • Berlin: Alles Jute ooch zum Jeburtstach!
  • Friesland: Lokkiche jierdei!
  • Hessen (Hesse): Isch gratelier Dir aach zum Geburtstach!
  • Köln (Cologne): Alles Juute zum Jeburtstaach!
  • Norddeutschland (Plattdeutsch -> Low German): Ick wünsch Di alls Gode ton Geburtsdach!
  • Wien (Vienna): Ois Guade zum Geburdsdog!
  • Bern: Es Muentschi zum Geburri!
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Your Citation
Bauer, Ingrid. "Wishing Someone a Happy Birthday In German." ThoughtCo, Feb. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/happy-birthday-in-german-1445060. Bauer, Ingrid. (2017, February 9). Wishing Someone a Happy Birthday In German. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/happy-birthday-in-german-1445060 Bauer, Ingrid. "Wishing Someone a Happy Birthday In German." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/happy-birthday-in-german-1445060 (accessed November 18, 2017).