Do you want to learn how to say happy birthday in Italian? There can be many potential reasons behind your wish to learn this particular greeting. Maybe you want to wish your Italian friend a special way or maybe you are invited to some birthday party there. Whatever the reason is, learning to say happy birthday in Italian is always a treat to your knowledge base.

Italians are cheerful people who enjoy celebrating and socializing with their family and friends. They also have world-renowned cuisine, so you can imagine how cool it must be to attend an Italian birthday party.

Before getting into the ways to wish someone a happy birthday in Italian, let’s share an important piece of information. If you are looking for an online Italian course, you can check italki. With italki, you can learn Italian with some fascinating new methods and get the fastest way to learn Italian. You can also have a free trial!

“Birthday” in Italian: Compleanno

The nouns “birth” and “day” are combined to form the word “birthday” in English. The word for “birthday” in Italian is also a compound word: compleanno.

Compleanno is derived from the Spanish word cumpleaos, which means “birthday.” Compleanno is derived from the Spanish verb cumplir (“to carry out,” or in this case, “to complete,” and anno from the Spanish noun año (“year”).

While the word explicitly describes the day of your birth in English, it is the day that marks the completion of one more year of your life in Italian.

“Happy Birthday” in Italian: Buon Compleanno

“Happy birthday” would be felice compleanno in Italian, because felice means “happy” in Italian.

Italians, on the other hand, do not wish for a happy birthday, but rather a good one. They say “buon compleanno” (roughly “happy birthday”). In many other special-event greetings, buon/a replaces “happy.”

For example:

Buon Anno NuovoHappy New Year
Buon San ValentinoHappy Valentine’s Day
Buona PasquaHappy Easter

“Date of birth” in Italian: Data di Nascita

“Birthday” and “birthdate” are not synonymous. While the first is a yearly occurrence, the second represents your exact birth date, year, and all. We each have only one date of birth, despite having as many birthdays as we are old.

If you are worried about mixing up the two in Italian, don’t be. It is nearly impossible. Data di nascita (“birthdate”) in Italian is made up of the words data (“date”), di (“of”), and nascita (“birth”).

“Best wishes” in Italian: Tanti Auguri

In English, buon compleanno means “happy birthday,” but Italians frequently use other phrases to greet the birthday person. Tanti auguri is the most well-known phrase.

What exactly does tanti auguri mean? If we were to translate it literally into English, tanti auguri would convey “many wishes.” However, its literal meaning is “best wishes.”

As you can see, tanti auguri does not include the word compleanno, indicating that it is not limited to birthdays. It can be used to express your best wishes at Christmas, New Year’s, or Women’s Day.

You may also say Auguri! (literally “wishes”) or add the suffix -oni to make the wishes bigger: Auguroni!

Now you know, several new words can be made by adding or deleting certain suffixes or prefixes in Italian. If you want to develop a command of such words, you can seek guidance from an Italian tutor online. These tutors will enable you to improve your Italian vocabulary list as well as the pronunciation of different words.

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“I wish you a Happy Birthday” in Italian: Ti Auguro un Buon Compleanno

You would say Ti auguro un buon compleanno to the birthday person to say “I wish you a happy birthday.”

But what if you wanted to wish several people a happy birthday at the same time? Or what if you wanted to express the wishes of someone else? You would have to change the phrase accordingly.

First of all, let’s see how to conjugate the verb augurare, which belongs to the first group of Italian verbs.

(io) auguro – “I wish”

(tu) auguri – “you wish” (informal singular second person)

(lui, lei or Lei) augura – “he/she wishes” or “you wish” (formal singular second person)

(noi) auguriamo – “we wish”

(voi) augurate – “you wish” (plural second person)

(loro) augurano – “they wish”

To complete the phrase, you can add the pronoun:

  • io → mi (“to me”)
  • tu → ti (“to you”)
  • lui → gli (“to him”)
  • lei, Lei → le, Le (“to her” or “to you”, formal singular form)
  • noi → ci (“to us”)
  • voi → vi (“to you”, plural form)
  • loro → gli (“to them”)

For example:

  • Vi auguriamo un buon compleanno – “We wish you a happy birthday.”
  • Mia madre le augura un buon compleanno, signore – “My mother wishes you a happy birthday, Sir.”

You can also learn Italian slang to wish your close ones informally. Learning Italian slang will help you understand what is acceptable in the language as well as the things that you need to avoid.

Song version of happy birthday in Italian

The Italian birthday song is used just as much as the English one, and for the same reasons: over the phone, to start a surprise party, before cutting the birthday cake, and so on.

Some of the lyrics of the song are:

Tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri, tanti auguri a te!

Tanti auguri a te means “best birthday wishes to you.

Some famous Italian birthday traditions

Italians celebrate their 18th birthday in a big way because it marks the beginning of their adulthood! The individual determines the style and size of the party, but it is almost always as large as possible.

An Old Italian birthday tradition has guests pulling the birthday person’s ears one time for each birthday they have had until the one they are celebrating. There are several explanations for this custom. One of the most popular is that pulling the birthday person’s ears symbolizes the passage of time. This is based on an old belief that memory was stored in the ears.

Learners often ask is Italian different from Latin. Well, to some extent, the answer to this question lies in the difference observed in customs and traditions. It is important for you to keenly observe the customs and traditions while learning any second language.

“Party” in Italian: Festa

There is no standard recipe for Italian birthday parties, but because they are frequently held at home, they can be quite creative. For young children’s parties, parents usually organise dei giochi (“games”), whereas adults and teenagers can opt for una festa a tema (“a themed party”). Una sorpresa (“a surprise”) or una festa a sorpresa (“a surprise party”) can be organized by friends and family.

Following are some party related vocabulary words in Italian:

  • invito di compleanno – “birthday invitation”
  • decorazione/i – “decoration/s”
  • palloncino/i – “balloon/s”
  • festone/i – “streamers”
  • cappellino/i di compleanno – “birthday hat/s”
  • coriandoli – “confettis”
  • musica – “music”
  • regalo – “present”
  • pacco regalo – “gift box” or “gift wrapping”
  • nastro – “ribbon”

“Birthday cake” in Italian: Torta di Compleanno

In Italy, the torta di compleanno (“birthday cake”) is a must. It is usually homemade, but the host or their family may order it and cover it with candele or candeline (“candles”). In Italy, eating birthday cake comes with a little ritual that you might recognize because it is common all over the world.

When the birthday song concludes, the guests tell the birthday person to Spegni le candele! (“Blow out the candles”). While doing so, the birthday person must esprimere un desiro (“make a wish”). Then they arm themselves with the necessary tools for il taglio della torta (literally “the cut of the cake”). Finally, it’s scorpacciata (“bellyful”) time!

Here are a few options that you can consider for birthday cake in Italian:

  • torta a piani – “multiple-story cake”
  • semifreddo – literally “half-cold”. It’s a typical half-frozen Italian dessert that resembles a mix of mousse and ice cream.
  • pan di Spagna – “sponge cake”
  • cioccolato – “chocolate”
  • crema – “cream”
  • panna (montata) – “whipped cream”
  • frutta – “fruits”
  • fragola – “strawberry”
  • nocciola – “hazel”

How to write a birthday card in Italian

In Italy, sending a birthday card is not a big deal. In fact, because the guests bring gifts, a card isn’t considered necessary. However, it’s still a nice thought, and you might get some at your Italian birthday party.

Here are some phrases that you can write on the birthday card:

  • Tanti auguri di buon compleanno. – “Best wishes for a happy birthday”, literally “Many wishes for a good birthday”.
  • Cento di questi giorni! – “Many happy returns”, literally “A hundred of these days.”
  • Sembri più giovane che mai! – “You look younger than ever!”
  • Buon compleanno a colui che è per sempre giovane! – “Happy birthday to someone who is forever young!”
  • Possano tutti i tuoi desideri avverarsi (in questo giorno) – “May all your wishes come true (on this day).”
  • Ti auguro il meglio – “I wish you the best”.

The phrase could also conclude with oggi e sempre (“today and forever”).


Now that you know how to say happy birthday in Italian, you can visit any birthday party or wish your friends on their birthday. Celebrating with people is always a good idea because it gives us the chance to make new friends and relationships.

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