How to Say Happy Birthday in French

shutterstock 141506860 FloraQueen EN How to Say Happy Birthday in French

Bonjour! The land of the French is beautiful and full of tradition. Over the years, their fantastic culture has spread all over the world, and you can feel their influence wherever you go.

Due to this, chances are you know someone who comes from France, and chances are that person is a particularly good friend, or perhaps even a lover.

So, their birthday is coming up, and you want to know how you should celebrate it in the French way. Look no further, whether you are hosting a birthday, or sending gifts from abroad, down below is everything you could ever possibly need to know about how to celebrate a birthday in France.

Here is everything that is covered:

  • The history of French birthday traditions
  • How to wish someone happy birthday in the French language
  • French birthday traditions
  • What kind of gifts to get for a French birthday?
  • What a modern birthday looks like in France

The History of French Birthdays

There is no point in time that we can pinpoint as the start of France celebrating birthdays. However, we can assume they have a similar timeline to America and the rest of the western world.

You see, French birthdays are near identical to the ones you would typically experience yourself, so there are no deep-rooted, long-standing traditions or history you need to be aware of.

Just follow the etiquette and customs you are already used to, and you should be good to go.

How to Wish Someone Happy Birthday in French

There are a few ways that you can wish someone a happy birthday in the language of love. The most typical expression you should use is “Joyeux Anniversaire,” which translates, literally word for word, to “Happy Birthday.” You can also use the phrase “Bon Anniversaire,” this one translates to “Good Birthday.” It’s less common, but you may still hear it being used from time to time.

Whereas certain languages, like German, for example, may culturally opt just to sing happy birthday in English, in France the song is translated and sung in French. If you plan on attending a birthday party in France, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of the tune just a little bit.

French Birthday Traditions

As mentioned previously, there is very little in the way of differences between a French birthday and an American one. However, there are a few cultural differences you should be aware of.

Firstly, some French families sing a slightly more complicated version of the birthday song than usual. The lyrics are different, and rather than just repeating “happy birthday to x,” the song goes on a bit of a tale, wishing the birthday boy/girl light and happiness in the years to come.

Another small but notable difference is in the cakes. Typically, an American birthday cake would be professionally baked or store-bought. They are fancy and extravagant. French birthday cakes, with the exception of milestone birthdays, tend to be simple, plain, and homemade. So, take that into consideration before getting someone a birthday cake!

There is one birthday tradition that seems exclusive to the French, however, and it involves naming your child when they’re born. In the past, French parents would name their child after the saint whose day it is when the child is born. It’s not particularly relevant to birthdays after the first, but it’s a fun little fact.

What Gift Should You Get For A French Birthday Boy/Girl?

 Again, here the French people don’t really differ too much from those in America. So follow the usual guidelines you use when buying birthday gifts.

For a female, say a partner or mother/mother in law, you can never go wrong with flowers or chocolates. There is an excellent selection of gift baskets here on the site if you want to take a look.

Of course, you could go with something fancier, a nice bottle of champagne, for example, or perhaps an extravagant piece of jewelry for a lover. Alternatively, for something more lowkey, you could get them a cute teddy bear, which is also a gift offered on the site.

Generally speaking, flowers go well with everything. They spruce up whatever other gifts you buy with color and life and are a great way to show your love and appreciation. For a less intimate bouquet, go with something like lilies. They represent joy and happiness, making them a perfect gift for your mum.

If you’re looking to surprise a lover, orchids are a great exotic choice, or you can go with some good old-fashioned red roses.

For a male, get them something you know they’ll like. A vintage bottle of scotch or a good book is typically a good choice, but it all depends on the man.

What Does A Modern French Birthday Look Like?

Yep, you guessed it; it looks exactly the same as an American one. There is a party with friends and family, cakes and treats, presents, and lots of festivities.

They do tend to be more low-key and intimate than American birthdays. As mentioned above, homemade cakes are relatively common, and the French tend not to make such a big deal out of the whole event.

That being said, it differs from person to person. Some prefer a grandiose party full of excitement, where some people just want a nice day to relax, it all depends.

So, there you have it, everything you could possibly need to know about French birthdays. The main thing you should takeaway is that they are near identical to American birthdays, so you have no customs or accidental insults to fear. Do like you usually do, and you have nothing to worry about.

As always, just do your best, make sure you know who you’re shopping for, and buy age-appropriate, the same way you would anyone else. There is a wide selection of gift baskets full of beautiful flowers, chocolates, drinks, and cuddly toys that you can purchase, and we deliver worldwide at any time you want.

Of course, if you still need some extra help, there is a team of experts willing and able to assist you in any way you need, so just get in touch!

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