Celebrations are a sort of big deal. We put so much effort, energy, time, and other resources into them. No matter where you are in the world or what language you speak, birthdays are special and momentous. Whatever the birthday milestones, whether it is Sweet 16 to Dirty 30, birthdays are meant to be enjoyed and celebrated. Visiting family and friends in Spain or South America? Why not celebrate by saying, “Feliz cumpleaños!” (pronounced fay-LEEZ KOOM-play-ahn-yohs).
In this article, we share points on:
Spanish Birthday Traditions
Birthdays are very special to every individual whether or not it’s their 1st or 98th birthday. Birthdays aren’t just days where you have decorations, cake, games, and family and friends around – it is a reminder of another, rather a celebration of being another year older.
In South America and Spain, some Spanish traditions are worthy of being noted.
Spanish traditions to note and celebrate at your next birthday include:
La Mordida – In Mexico, birthday celebrants get their hands tied behind their back and then have to try to eat cake. While the birthday celebrant attempts to eat the cake, family and friends shout out “Mordida,” which colloquially means “take a bite.
Las Mañanitas – Another birthday tradition that is commonly celebrated in Mexico is when family and friends sing, Las Mañanitas, which translates to “Little Mornings.” This song is sung on the morning of the celebrants’ birthday.
Pinata – This birthday celebration is one that can be celebrated by all ages, though typically young children participate in this tradition; however, even teenagers and adults celebrate too.
In Spain, when it comes to birthdays, Spaniards are known for being cheerful and hospitable people. They are also known for throwing elaborate, festive, and fun parties. There is no way you can attend a birthday party for someone who is Spanish and not have a good time.
The cheerfulness of a Spaniard hardly ever goes unnoticed. Birthdays are just as famous as any other holiday. For many South American and Spanish cultures, the gifts are not the highlights of the celebration. Instead, they prefer the attention and simple pleasures. They are a culture that values family and friends and not materialistic things.
Whether its Spain or Mexico, no matter where your friend or family is from South America, when it comes to the Spanish culture, gifts are not highly sought. For them, something as simple as wishing them “Happy Birthday” in Spanish can mean a lot to them.
For many Spanish backgrounds, culture is a big deal for them. They would instead focus and put effort into ensuring friends and family have a good time rather than having the best and biggest gifts.
Some birthday gifts to consider giving for that Spanish friend include:
- FC Barcelona or Spanish League Jersey – Anyone with a Spanish background is huge football fan (or soccer as it is known in North America).
- Turron – This is a Spanish nougat that is a popular sweet amongst many. Forget a box of chocolates? Why not get them some turron?
- Manchego Cheese – This famous cheese from Spain makes a great gift for that cheese lover in your life. Can’t go wrong with this gift. Why not pair some Manchego with a bottle of red wine and bread from Spain?
- Caganer – This gift is suitable for anyone with a somewhat X-rated sense of humor as it is a small figurine, typically of a famous person, and it has them with their pants down and usually on top of a toilet.
Remember, though, when it comes to giving gifts to that friend or family member with a Spanish background, it is not about the gift itself; it is about the thought. Whether you make a card or buy them a gift, they are sure to appreciate whatever they receive.
It is also essential to consider the age of the person. For kids, the best gift to give them is an opportunity with a piñata of their favorite character. Who doesn’t love a chance to break a large object with candy raining from the bottom?
For older children such as teenagers, money and large parties with their friends is best appreciated by them. They enjoy experiences, and having a party with friends is one experience they are sure not to forget.
Spanish Birthday Sayings
- Feliz cumpleaños, which translates to Happy Birthday, another way of saying “Happy Birthday” is Feliz cumple (pronounced fay-LEEZ KOOM-play), which is a more informal and casual way of saying Happy Birthday.
- Felicidades (pronounced fay-lee-see-DAH-days), which translates to “congratulations.” You can add an extra layer to this by saying Felicidades en tu dia, which translates into “congratulations on your day.
- Que cumplas muchos mas (pronounced ‘kay KOOM-plahs MOO-chohs mahs’) which translate into “Hope you have many more.”
These sayings, whether they are written or spoken, can mean a lot to someone who has a lot of pride in their culture and background.
Celebrate with Pride and Joy
When it comes to celebrating your birthday, or maybe a friend or family member, remember it is not about the presents but rather the memories. It is the small things that matter the most. From books to personalized birthday cards, many Spanish folks love to receive gifts that are personalized and sentimental in meaning. Remember that while birthdays are special, and often associated with gifts, they are more about the memories that are made.
Flowers and birthday cards, no matter whose birthday, or how old they are, why not say Feliz cumpleaños! No matter how you say it, whether it’s in Spanish or English, say Happy Birthday and celebrate with those who mean the most to you this year.