Your Guide to Saying Happy Birthday in Chinese

Grover Laughton10 min
Created: Jun 24, 2024Last updated: Jul 3, 2024
Happy Birthday in Chinese

Celebrating a birthday is a joyous tradition in every culture. In Chinese, expressing wishes goes beyond just saying “Happy Birthday.” Various phrases and customs make the occasion special. Knowing how to say happy birthday in Chinese in the right way deepens your connection with both the language and the people. This article provides you with ways to wish someone a happy birthday in Mandarin.

Celebrating Birthdays in Chinese: More Than Just Words

Birthdays mean a lot in Chinese culture. The celebrations often involve customs passed down through generations, which makes the day unique and personal. Compared to Western countries, parties tend to be quiet family events instead of big gatherings. Often, Chinese people celebrate only the most significant birthdays in a big way.

A classic part of these smaller gatherings includes the consumption of longevity noodles, known as 寿面 (shòu miàn). Gift-giving is a really important part of Chinese celebrations. People often give money in red envelopes 红包 (hóngbāo) because red means good luck and wealth. Small items like tea sets or jade pieces are also thoughtful presents.

When celebrating elders’ birthdays, people honor their wisdom and age. Younger family members show respect by kowtowing or giving tea. These acts highlight family order and respect for older generations.

Though old ways stay strong, younger generations in China now employ Western-style traditions. People now enjoy birthday cakes and throw bigger parties every year, not just for big ages. Still, birthdays matter a lot to families, especially for babies and elders.

The Basics: How to Say Happy Birthday in Chinese

To say “Happy Birthday” in the Chinese language, you need more than learning new words. Besides using these wishes, understanding them helps you show respect and build relationships. Pronunciation matters as well, so make sure you practice it correctly. Below are some basic phrases for wishing someone a happy birthday in Chinese that can help you start:

  • 生日快乐 (Shēngrì kuàilè) – Happy Birthday. The most common way to say “Happy Birthday.”

祝你生日快乐! (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè!) – I wish you a happy birthday!

  • 生日快乐,身体健康 (Shēngrì kuàilè, shēntǐ jiànkāng) – Happy Birthday, good health. Common wish that includes good health.

生日快乐,身体健康,万事如意! (Shēngrì kuàilè, shēntǐ jiànkāng, wànshì rúyì!) – Happy Birthday, good health, and may all go well!

  • 祝你生日快乐,万事如意 (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, wànshì rúyì) – Wish you a happy birthday, may all go well. A way to wish someone success and happiness.

祝你生日快乐,万事如意,希望你梦想成真! (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, wànshì rúyì, xīwàng nǐ mèngxiǎng chéng zhēn!) – I wish you a happy birthday and may all go well, and I hope your dreams come true!

  • 生日快乐,幸福安康 (Shēngrì kuàilè, xìngfú ānkāng) – Happy Birthday, happiness, and health. Another way to wish for happiness and good health.

生日快乐,幸福安康,天天快乐! (Shēngrì kuàilè, xìngfú ānkāng, tiāntiān kuàilè!) – Happy Birthday, happiness, and health, and happy every day!

Chinese Birthday Wishes for Elders and Superiors

Respect for elders remains essential in China. When you wish them a happy birthday, the words you choose show your appreciation. Traditional phrases and blessings often get used to honor their age and status. Below is how to say happy birthday in Chinese traditional settings:

  • 祝您生日快乐 (Zhù nín shēngrì kuàilè) – Wish you a happy birthday. A respectful way to express wishes.

祝您生日快乐,身体健康! (Zhù nín shēngrì kuàilè, shēntǐ jiànkāng!) – I wish you a happy birthday and good health!

  • 生日快乐,福如东海 (Shēngrì kuàilè, fú rú dōnghǎi) – Happy Birthday, good fortune as vast as the sea. A happy birthday Mandarin wish for abundant blessings.

生日快乐,福如东海,寿比南山! (Shēngrì kuàilè, fú rú dōnghǎi, shòu bǐ nánshān!) – Happy Birthday, may your fortune be as vast as the sea and your life as long as the mountains!

  • 祝您生日快乐,事业有成 (Zhù nín shēngrì kuàilè, shìyè yǒu chéng) – Wish you a happy birthday, success in your career. A respectful wish for professional success.

祝您生日快乐,事业有成,家庭幸福! (Zhù nín shēngrì kuàilè, shìyè yǒu chéng, jiātíng xìngfú!) – I wish you a happy birthday, success in your career, and a happy family!

  • 祝您福寿安康 (Zhù nín fúshòu ānkāng) – Wish you happiness, long life, and health. A traditional option to bestow blessings on elders.

祝您福寿安康,笑口常开! (Zhù nín fúshòu ānkāng, xiàokǒu cháng kāi!) – I wish you happiness, long life, and health, and may you always smile!

  • 生日快乐,寿比南山 (Shēngrì kuàilè, shòu bǐ nánshān) – Happy Birthday, long life as the southern mountain. This phrase honors elders by wishing them a long and healthy life.

生日快乐,寿比南山,幸福安康! (Shēngrì kuàilè, shòu bǐ nánshān, xìngfú ānkāng!) – Happy Birthday, long life, happiness, and health!


Heartfelt Birthday Wishes in Chinese for Friends and Loved Ones

You can say much more than “Happy Birthday” to your friends or family. These wishes show you care and how much they mean to you. They strengthen bonds and make the person feel special and valued. Below, we will look at how do you say happy birthday in Chinese.

  • 祝你生日快乐,永远年轻 (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, yǒngyuǎn niánqīng) – Wish you a happy birthday, stay young forever. It expresses hope for lasting youth and vitality.

祝你生日快乐,永远年轻,天天快乐! (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, yǒngyuǎn niánqīng, tiāntiān kuàilè!) – I wish you a happy birthday, stay young forever, and be happy every day!

  • 生日快乐,梦想成真 (Shēngrì kuàilè, mèngxiǎng chéng zhēn) – Happy Birthday, may your dreams come true. This phrase encourages the person to pursue their aspirations.

生日快乐,梦想成真,希望你实现所有愿望! (Shēngrì kuàilè, mèngxiǎng chéng zhēn, xīwàng nǐ shíxiàn suǒyǒu yuànwàng!) – Happy Birthday, may your dreams come true, and I hope you achieve all your wishes!

  • 祝你生日快乐,笑口常开 (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, xiàokǒu cháng kāi) – Wish you a happy birthday, always smile. It hopes for endless joy and a cheerful heart.

祝你生日快乐,笑口常开,天天开心! (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, xiàokǒu cháng kāi, tiāntiān kāixīn!) – I wish you a happy birthday, always smile and be happy every day!

  • 生日快乐,幸福美满 (Shēngrì kuàilè, xìngfú měimǎn) – Happy Birthday, full of happiness. The phrase conveys a hope for complete and lasting joy.

生日快乐,幸福美满,希望你每一天都充满快乐! (Shēngrì kuàilè, xìngfú měimǎn, xīwàng nǐ měi yītiān dōu chōngmǎn kuàilè!) – Happy Birthday, full of happiness, and I hope every day is full of joy!

  • 祝你生日快乐,健康长寿 (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, jiànkāng chángshòu) – Wish you a happy birthday, health, and longevity. A Chinese birthday wish for good health and a long life.

祝你生日快乐,健康长寿,天天快乐! (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè, jiànkāng chángshòu, tiāntiān kuàilè!) – I wish you a happy birthday, health, and longevity, and be happy every day!

Modern Slang and Youthful Birthday Wishes

Modern slang now appears in celebrations among Chinese youth. Young people mix traditional phrases with new slang to make cool and fresh greetings. Learning these can help you connect better with younger generations. Let’s look at such wishes for birthday in Chinese:

  • 生日嗨皮 (Shēngrì hāipí) – Happy Birthday. A playful way to say happy birthday.

祝你生日嗨皮,天天开心! (Zhù nǐ shēngrì hāipí, tiāntiān kāixīn!) – I wish you a happy birthday and happiness every day!

  • 生日快乐鸭 (Shēngrì kuàilè yā) – Happy Birthday, buddy. A cute and friendly way to wish happy birthday in Mandarin.

生日快乐鸭,吃好玩好! (Shēngrì kuàilè yā, chī hǎo wán hǎo!) – Happy Birthday, buddy! Eat well and have fun!

  • 生日快乐,永远十八岁 (Shēngrì kuàilè, yǒngyuǎn shíbā suì) – Happy Birthday, forever eighteen. A way to wish someone to stay young forever.

生日快乐,永远十八岁,青春常驻! (Shēngrì kuàilè, yǒngyuǎn shíbā suì, qīngchūn cháng zhù!) – Happy Birthday, forever eighteen, and stay youthful always!

  • 生日快乐,天天向上 (Shēngrì kuàilè, tiāntiān xiàngshàng) – Happy Birthday, always improving. A casual way to say happy birthday in Mandarin Chinese and encourage someone to keep growing.

生日快乐,天天向上,希望你越来越好! (Shēngrì kuàilè, tiāntiān xiàngshàng, xīwàng nǐ yuè lái yuè hǎo!) – Happy Birthday, always improving, and I hope you get better and better!

  • 祝你生日超级棒 (Zhù nǐ shēngrì chāojí bàng) – Wish you an awesome birthday. A way to wish someone an amazing birthday.

祝你生日超级棒,玩得开心! (Zhù nǐ shēngrì chāojí bàng, wán de kāixīn!) – I wish you an awesome birthday and have a great time!

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Using the right words to say happy birthday in Mandarin shows you care. Each phrase matters whether you wish for good health or joy. With traditional and modern greetings, you can connect with people from different age groups. Include respect for elders and best wishes for close friends in your messages. And pay attention to the pronunciation; it makes a big difference in Mandarin.


How do people celebrate big birthdays in China?

Families gather for a meal and give red envelopes filled with money as gifts. The 60th, 70th, and 80th birthdays are more special and may have bigger parties.

Which colors to avoid when giving gifts for Chinese birthdays?

Avoid white or black gifts, as these colors link to funerals and mourning in Chinese culture. Red and gold are good since they mean luck and joy.

Does the zodiac sign affect how people celebrate their birthdays in China?

Yes, zodiac signs matter. People may give gifts that match someone’s zodiac animal to wish them luck for the year ahead. You can also incorporate their zodiac animal into your happy birthday wishes in Chinese.

Where can I learn Chinese words about birthdays?

You can use or These online dictionaries have many word lists and pronunciation guides to help you learn Chinese.