In this post: How to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish, plus traditional songs and books about ‘el cumpleaños’!

I’m sure we can all recall the excitement with which we looked forward to celebrating our birthdays when we were younger. When you have kids of your own, they remind you of that joy and anticipation all over again. 

child hitting a piñata

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Once they’re old enough to recall their birth date, they start counting down weeks in advance! 

At Llamitas Spanish® we love teaching children Spanish through lessons rooted in the Hispanic culture. When teaching your kids Spanish at home as a non-native, it’s easy to overlook cultural lessons but it’s an enriching experience that you definitely won’t want your kids to miss out on. 

Related post: How to Add a Foreign Language to Your Homeschooling

Happy Birthday in Spanish

There are many ways to tell someone happy birthday and wish them well. Firstly,  there’s the one most of us are already familiar with, ‘feliz cumpleaños’ which translates to ‘happy birthday’. Then there’s the informal or colloquial form of that phrase which is ‘feliz cumple’. 

Here are a few other useful phrases: 

Wishing you a very happy birthday – Te deseo un muy feliz cumpleaños

Have a special day – Que tengas un día especial

I wish you all the best – Te deseo lo mejor

Happy belated birthday – Feliz cumpleaños atrasado

Another way is to simply say ‘felicidades’ which means ‘congratulations’. While this isn’t used in English, it’s a common way to wish someone a happy birthday in Spanish.

If you’ve already taught your kids how to express their emotions and feelings in Spanish, this lesson will be a great time to also practice that skill. Ask them how they feel on their birthday, what emotions they experience at a birthday party or even how they would feel if someone forgot about their birthday.

Happy Birthday Lyrics in Spanish

There are a few traditional variations of the happy birthday song in Spanish. They are sung to the melody of the happy birthday song in English so they’re easy for kids to learn. 

1st version 

Spanish 

Cumpleaños feliz

Cumpleaños feliz

Te deseamos todos

Cumpleaños feliz

English translation 

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

We wish you a happy birthday

Happy birthday to you  

2nd version 

Spanish 

Cumpleaños feliz

Te deseamos a ti

Cumpleaños (name)

Cumpleaños feliz

English Translation

Happy birthday to you

We wish you a happy birthday 

Happy birthday (name) 

Happy birthday to you 

There’s also a popular song sung on birthdays called ‘Las Mañanitas’ which is said to have originated in  Mexico. Traditionally, family members would hire mariachis to serenade their loved ones with this song in the early hours of their birthday. Nowadays, it is also sung before someone cuts their birthday cake. 

We love the version by Canticos which is fun and filled with cute animations. Listen to the Spanish and English versions here and sing along using the lyrics below:

Spanish 

Estas son las mañanitas, 

Que cantaba el Rey David,

Hoy por ser tu cumpleaños,

te las cantamos a tí.

Despierta, mi bien, despierta, 

Mira que ya amaneció,

Ya los pajaritos cantan, 

la luna ya se metió.

Cumpleaños feliz

Te deseamos a tí.

Cumpleaños amiguito

Que los cumplas feliz.

English

Today’s the day, and it’s the morning

You get treated like a king

‘Cause this morning, it’s your birthday

Your praises we’re gonna sing.

Come on, it’s time to wake up now

Come see how the day turns bright

All the sparrows sing about you 

the moon has gone nighty-night.

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you.

Happy birthday, Happy birthday.

Happy birthday to you.

Spanish Birthday-Themed Vocabulary

Here are some common words and phrases that will come in handy when talking about birthdays. Consider using them to make bilingual labels to add as decorations at your next birthday celebration. 

Español  English 
El pastel de cumpleaños Birthday cake 
Regalos Gifts 
Piñata Piñata
Velitas Candles 
Globos Balloons 
Papel picado Confetti 
Guirnalda Streamer
Amigos Friends 
Helado Ice-cream 
Las mañanitas Birthday song 

For a fun arts and crafts project, try making your own piñata at home. Fill it with your kids’ favorite candy and trinkets and watch them go!

Spanish Books about Birthdays

With the following books, you’ll have more than enough opportunities to learn new words and phrases as well as practice reading in Spanish. 

  1. Las mañanitas by Susie Jaramillo

This book by Canticos is based on the traditional Mexican birthday song Las Mañanitas which we mentioned earlier. It’s a great bilingual read with interactive lift-the-flap features. 

  1. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! By Dr. Seuss

Known for skillful rhymes and engaging stories, Dr. Seuss remains a classic and favorite for many kids…even some adults! Enjoy this birthday book in Spanish that talks about the reason for celebrating such a special day.

  1. Un Señor Oso Para Mi Cumpleaños by Ingrid Sawubona

Fuel your kids’ imagination with this creative story. A boy encounters a bear at the park and takes it home with him. He then has to find a way to tell his parents that the bear wants to live with them forever. Grab your copy to find out what happens in the end. 

  1. Feliz Cumpleaños A Mí by David and Tessie DeVore

This Christian-based book gives even more insight into the cultural aspects of celebrating birthdays in Hispanic cultures and the importance of family. Dive into this joyful story which recounts the amazing time everyone had celebrating David’s birthday.

  1. The Birthday Box / Mi Caja De Cumpleaños by Leslie Patricelli 

This is the story that many parents know all too well. The toddler who would much prefer to play with the box that a gift came in than the gift itself. Discover the many ways in which the birthday box in this book was used to create endless adventures.

  1. ¿Cómo dicen feliz cumpleaños los dinosaurios? by Jane Yolen

Ever wondered how dinosaurs would say happy birthday? Neither have I. This book is beautifully illustrated and skillfully brings together a mixture of fun, silliness and celebration. It’s a board book and recommended for ages 3 to 5. 

  1. Peppa Pig: ¡Feliz cumpleaños! by Annie Auerbach

Take the excitement off-screen and celebrate Peppa’s birthday with this delightful storybook. It also comes with a birthday card that your kids can decorate once they’re finished reading. 

  1. ¡Feliz cumpleaños Martín! by Dana Ryan

Follow the adventures of two friends Pepe and Martín as Pepe reveals all the surprises that are planned to celebrate Martín’s birthday. If you love surprises then this one’s for you. 

  1. ¡Cumpleaños feliz! Combel by Nicola Slater

This book is short yet impactful and will have your kids eagerly looking forward to their next birthday. Sing the happy birthday song along with four friends as they celebrate a very special day.

Spanish Curriculum for Preschool and Elementary

The earlier you start teaching your kids Spanish the better. We understand that this may not always be easy, whether you’re a native Spanish speaker or not. It’s all about finding the right resources and a program that works for you and your family.

That’s one of the reasons why we offer a completely open-and-go curriculum that you can implement at home. With native speaker audio, pronunciation guides, and bilingual scripts, there’s no guess work! You can confidently teach your kids Spanish at home.

Llamitas Spanish curriculum mockup including the textbook and curriculum box

It’s a structured open-and-go program that’s perfect for early years and will give you everything you need to get started. It includes 12 thematic units and reinforces literacy, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, early math and more. 

On the topic of birthdays, why not give your kids the gift of being bilingual? Head over to our shop and enroll now!