2 Ways to Sing "Happy Birthday" in German

Sing a Song in German for Their Birthday

A fun tradition in families all over the world, it's always nice to hear someone sing you a 'happy birthday' song. In German-speaking countries, two popular songs that are used: the "Happy Birthday" song we are familiar with in English and a special, much longer, and very touching song that celebrates the person's life.

Both songs are fun to sing and a great way to learn while practicing your German.

A Simple Translation of the "Happy Birthday" Song

To start off simply, let's learn how to sing the basic "Happy Birthday" song in German. It's very easy because you only need to learn two lines (the first line repeats, just like in English) and you will use the same tune as you would sing in English.

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück,Happy Birthday to You,
Zum Geburtstag liebe (name)Happy Birthday dear (name)

While this song is fun to learn, it should be noted that the English version of the song is heard most often, even at parties where everyone speaks German.

"Alles gute zum geburtstag" means "happy birthday" and is a traditional way to wish someone a happy birthday in German. 

"Wie schön, dass du geboren bist" Lyrics

Although the English version of "Happy Birthday to You" remains the most common song heard at German birthday parties, this song is just as popular. It is one of the few German birthday songs to gain widespread popularity in German-speaking countries.

"Wie schön, dass du geboren bist" (“How nice that you were born”) was written in 1981 by the Hamburg-born musician and producer Rolf Zuckowski (1947- ). It has become a standard in German childcare facilities, schools, and at private birthday parties and has even been elevated to 'folk song' status in its short life.

Zuckowski is best known for writing and singing children's songs and has released over 40 albums in his career. In 2007, he worked with illustrator Julia Ginsbach to publish a baby album for parents, using the title of this song.

German LyricsDirect Translation by Hyde Flippo
Heute kann es regnen,
stürmen oder schnei'n,
denn du strahlst ja selber
wie der Sonnenschein.
Heut ist dein Geburtstag,
darum feiern wir,
alle deine Freunde,
freuen sich mit dir.
Today it can rain,
storm or snow,
because you yourself are beaming
like sunshine.
Today is your birthday,
that's why we're celebrating.
All your friends,
are happy for you.
Refrain: *
Wie schön, dass du geboren bist,
wir hätten dich sonst sehr vermisst.
wie schön, dass wir beisammen sind,
wir gratulieren dir, Geburtstagskind!
Refrain:
How nice that you were born,
we would have really missed you otherwise.
how nice that we're all together;
we congratulate you, birthday child!
* The refrain is repeated between each of the following verses and again at the end.
  
Uns're guten Wünsche
haben ihren Grund:
Bitte bleib noch lange
glücklich und gesund.
Dich so froh zu sehen,
ist was uns gefällt,
Tränen gibt es schon
genug auf dieser Welt.
Our good wishes
have their purpose (reason):
Please stay long
happy and healthy.
Seeing you so happy,
is what we like.
There are tears
enough in this world.
Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch,
das ist ganz egal,
dein Geburtstag kommt im Jahr
doch nur einmal.
Darum lass uns feiern,
dass die Schwarte kracht,*
Heute wird getanzt,
gesungen und gelacht.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
that doesn't really matter,
but your birthday comes only
once a year.
So let us celebrate,
until we're exhausted,*
Today there's dancing,
singing and laughter.
German idiom: "arbeiten, dass die Schwarte kracht" = "to work until one drops, lit., "to work until the rind cracks"
  
Wieder ein Jahr älter,
nimm es nicht so schwer,
denn am Älterwerden
änderst du nichts mehr.
Zähle deine Jahre
und denk' stets daran:
Sie sind wie ein Schatz,
den dir keiner nehmen kann.
Another year older,
(but) don't take it so hard,
because when it comes to aging
you can't change anything anymore.
Count your years
and always remember:
They are a treasure,
that no one can take from you.

The German lyrics are provided for educational use only. No infringement of copyright is implied or intended. The literal, prose translations of the original German lyrics by Hyde Flippo.