black board with how to say happy birthday in Italian wirtten on it and flowers beside
Italian Lifestyle,  Learn Italian

How to wish someone a happy birthday in Italian

Learn how to wish someone a happy birthday in Italian and how to respond if someone wishes tanti auguri to you!

Today is my birthday (almost, I was born on the 29th of February, anno bisestile, but that’s another lesson!) and since I am receiving lovely birthday messages from my Italian friends, I thought it was a great opportunity to share to say happy birthday in Italian!

If you have an Italian friend celebrating their birthday soon, below you will find all the Italian birthday wishes you can use to let them know you are thinking about them.

In case it is your birthday and you have Italian friends wishing happy birthday in Italian to you, I will also share how you can respond!

Cream cake with buon compleanno (happy birthday in Italian) written on it in chocolate sauce.

How to say happy birthday in Italian: buon compleanno

The direct translation of ‘happy birthday’ to Italian is Buon Compleanno!

You can use the expression on its own or adding terms of endearment such as:

Buon compleanno! Happy birthday!

Buon compleanno, cara! Happy birthday, dear (for women)

Buon compleanno, bella! Happy birthday, beautiful (for women)

Buon compleanno amico mio /amica mia Happy birthday, my friend (male / female)

Blackboard with Italian happy birthday sayings to wish someone a happy birthday in Italian

How to say happy birthday in Italian: tanti auguri

Another way to wish someone a happy birthday in Italian is by saying ‘tanti auguri’.

This technically only means ‘many wishes’ and it is the same expression used to say Merry Christmas.

However, it is a very common way to send someone birthday wishes, the context being more than enough to convey why you are greeting them!

If you want to wish someone happy birthday in Italian using tanti auguri, you can say:

Tanti Auguri! Lit. Many Wishes

Tanti auguri di buon compleanno! Lit. Many wishes of a happy birthday

Tantissimi auguri! Lit. Very many wishes

Auguroni! Lit. Big wishes (informal)

Again, you can add to these birthday greetings terms of endearment such as cara, caro, amico/a mia, tesoro, carissimo/a etc.

Birthday cake with colorful candles spelling Buon Compleanno

Other ways to wish someone a happy birthday in Italian

Other expressions you may come across at Italian birthdays are:

Cento di questi giorni! 100 of these days (meaning you are wishing them to live 100 more years)

Tanti auguri in ritardo: happy belated birthday (lit. Many wishes late)

Other Italian words useful at an Italian birthday

Torta di compleanno: birthday cake

Cendeline: the small candles that go on the cake

Regalo di compleanno: birthday gift/ present

Festa di compleanno: birthday party

Invitati: guests, the people you invited to your festa di compleanno

Brindisi di compleanno: birthday toast

Festeggiato/festeggiata: birthday boy/birthday girl

Genetliaco: birthday (Ok, you will NOT come across this word as it is a very old fashioned way to say ‘birthday’ but it is proper Italian and you may come across it in the news, for official birthdays especially of elderly personalities)

Di che anno sei? What year were you born?

Quanti anni compi? Lit. How many years do you finish today = how old are you today/what birthday of yours is it?

Happy birthday song in Italian

The Italian happy birthday songs follow the same melody as those in English and go like this (you can hear it here):

Tanti auguri a te,

Tanti auguri a te,

Tanti auguri a/caro/cara [sing name of the person]

Tanti auguri a te

While ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow’ goes like this:

Perche’ e’ un bravo ragazzo,

Perche’ e’ un bravo ragazzo,

Perche’ e’ un bravo ragazzo,

E nessessuno lo puo’ negar (lit. and no one can say otherwise)

How to respond to Tanti Auguri or Buon Compleanno

If someone says ‘tanti auguri’ to you, they are wishing you a happy birthday, a happy new year/easter/special event or simply sending you greetings on your special occasion.

The most appropriate answer to ‘tanti auguri’ is ‘Grazie’ (= Thank you) or ‘Grazie Mille’ (=thank you very much!).

You can learn here >>> all the ways to say ‘thank you’ in Italian.

I hope you know feel well equipped to wish your friend a happy birthday in Italian!

Birthday cake with candles and text: how to say happy birthday in Italian.

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Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.