How to Say Happy Birthday in European Portuguese

Whether you’re visiting Portugal or have Portuguese-speaking friends or family, knowing how to wish someone a happy birthday in European Portuguese is a great way to show your appreciation and make them feel special. In this guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways of saying happy birthday in European Portuguese, along with some tips and examples to help you celebrate this joyful occasion.

Formal Ways to Say Happy Birthday

When wishing someone a happy birthday in a formal setting, it’s important to use respectful and polite language. Here are some phrases you can use:

  1. “Feliz aniversário!” – This is the most common way to say happy birthday in Portuguese. It is a straightforward and widely used phrase.
  2. “Muitos parabéns!” – This phrase is used to express congratulations on someone’s birthday and is commonly used in formal settings.
  3. “Desejo-lhe um dia muito especial!” – This translates to “I wish you a very special day” and is a polite way to extend your well-wishes on someone’s birthday.

Remember to use the appropriate formal pronouns when addressing someone, such as “você” (you) or “o senhor/a senhora” (Mr./Mrs.).

Informal Ways to Say Happy Birthday

When you’re celebrating a friend or a close family member’s birthday, you can use more informal and affectionate language. Here are some options:

  1. “Parabéns!” – This is the most common and versatile way to wish someone a happy birthday in an informal setting.
  2. “Feliz aniversário, meu/minha [friend/family member’s name]!” – This translates to “Happy birthday, my [friend/family member’s name]!” and adds a personal touch to your birthday wishes.
  3. “Muitas felicidades!” – This phrase means “Many happinesses” and is a warm and affectionate way to wish someone well on their birthday.

You can also use terms of endearment like “querido” (dear), “amigo/a” (friend), or their nicknames to make your wishes more personal.


Let’s look at a few examples of how you can incorporate these phrases into your birthday wishes:

Formal: “Feliz aniversário! Desejo-lhe um dia muito especial e muitos anos de vida!” (Happy birthday! I wish you a very special day and many years of life!)

Informal: “Parabéns! Que todos os seus sonhos se realizem neste novo ano que se inicia!” (Congratulations! May all your dreams come true in this new year ahead!)

Regional Variations

European Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, and while there may be some regional variations in idiomatic expressions and accents, the phrases mentioned above are universally understood and can be used throughout Portugal.

Tips for Celebrating Birthdays in European Portuguese Culture

Here are some cultural tips to keep in mind when celebrating birthdays in European Portuguese culture:

  • It is common to bring a gift when attending a birthday celebration, such as flowers or a bottle of wine.
  • Portuguese people often sing the traditional birthday song “Parabéns a você” (Happy Birthday to You) before blowing out the candles.
  • The birthday person may offer a slice of their birthday cake to each guest as a sign of appreciation.
  • It is customary to send a birthday card or write a heartfelt message to the birthday person, expressing your well-wishes and affection.

Remember, the most important thing is to celebrate and share happiness with the birthday person, regardless of the specific language or cultural customs.

Congratulations! You are now ready to confidently wish someone a happy birthday in European Portuguese. May your well-wishes bring joy and warmth to everyone’s special day!

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