Happy Birthday in Chinese 🎉 Learn What & What Not To Say

The Ultimate Guide to Wishing a Happy Birthday

The need to say Happy Birthday in Chinese is something you’ll probably come across pretty early on in your studying Chinese journey.

Happy Birthday in Chinese

Whether you want to show off to the rest of your class mates, demonstrate to friends who are suitably impressed, or if you just want to wish your Chinese friends a heartfelt birthday…

saying happy birthday in Chinese is one of the most useful phrases you’ll learn. 

Apart from learning how to say birthday in Chinese, get ready for when your friend’s birthday (生日 – shēng rì) comes along.

You’ll want to prepare the birthday party (生日派对 – shēng rì pài duì) with catching up on some key Chinese birthday vocabulary for the get-together (聚会 – jù huì). 

Amongst all the language fun, don’t forget a birthday gift (生日礼物 – shēng rì lǐ wù) or birthday card (生日卡 – shēng rì kǎ) though! 

Happy Birthday in Chinese || How to say Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday in Chinese || For Children

Happy Birthday in Chinese || For Young/Middle-Aged Females

Happy Birthday in Chinese || For the Elderly

Happy Birthday in Chinese || For Friends

Happy Birthday in Chinese || Talking about your Birthday

Happy Birthday in Chinese || Happy Birthday Song

Happy Birthday in Chinese || Birthday Traditions

Happy Birthday in Chinese || Birthday Gifts

Happy Birthday in Chinese || Bad Birthday Gifts

Happy Birthday in Chinese || FAQs

Let’s talk slang in Chinese

How to Say Happy Birthday in Chinese 

生日快乐 – shēngrì kuàilè : Happy Birthday (lit. Birth – Day – Happy) 

祝你生日快乐 – zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè : Wish you a Happy Birthday  (lit. Wish – You – Birth – Day – Happy)

These are the two most standard phrases you will need to say happy birthday in Chinese. 

However, there are many other was to say happy birthday in Chinese that you can impress your friends with even more. 

If you’re looking for the standard phrases, those are the ones to go for! And also the ones to feature in the Chinese happy birthday song – see below.

Happy Birthday in Chinese for Children 

  • 生日快乐 – shēngrì kuàilè 
    Happy Birthday! 
  • 希望你健康快乐地长大, xī wàng nǐ jiàn kāng kuài lè de zhǎng dà
    I hope you grow up to be healthy and happy!

Happy Birthday in Chinese for Young/Middle-Aged Females

  • 祝你生日快乐,年年十八, zhù nǐ shēnɡ rì kuài lè, nián nián shí bā
    Wish you a happy birthday, may you live as young as 18 years old every year.
  • 祝你生日快乐,越来越靓, zhù nǐ shēnɡ rì kuài lè, yuè lái yuè jìng
    Happy birthday to you, wish you more and more beautiful.
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Happy Birthday in Chinese for the Elderly

  • 祝你福如东海,寿比南山, Zhù nǐ fú rú dōng hǎi, shòu bǐ nán shān
    May your fortune be as boundless as the East Sea and your life is as long as the Nan Shan.
  • 祝你年年有今日,岁岁有今朝, Zhù nǐ nián nián yǒu jīn rì, suì suì yǒu jīn zhāo.
    You have this day (can celebrate your birthday) every year in the future.

Happy Birthday in Chinese to Friends

Wishing a Happy Birthday in Chinese

If you want to say happy birthday in Chinese to friends with more emphasis (or you really want to show off that much), you can add in a couple of chengyu;

  • 心想事成, xīn xiǎng shì chéng
    May all your wishes come true.
  • 天天快乐, tiān tiān kuài lè
    I hope you’re happy every day.
  • 祝你生日快乐,天天快乐,心想事成, zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè, tiān tiān kuài lè, xīn xiǎng shì chéng
    Happy birthday to you! I hope that you are happy every day and that all your wishes come true.

Talking about a Birthday in Chinese

你几岁了?nǐ jǐ suì le?
How old are you now?  

你属什么的?nǐ shǔ shén me de?
What is your Zodiac sign? (A traditional way of asking someone’s age or what year they were born in.)

你的生日是什么时候?Nǐ de shēngrì shì shénme shíhòu?
When is your birthday? 

你平时怎么过生日?Nǐ píngshí zěnmeguò shēngrì?
What do you usually do to celebrate your birthday?

我打算跟朋友一起去酒吧喝酒/去餐厅吃饭。Wǒ dǎsuàn gēn péngyǒu yīqǐ qù jiǔbā hējiǔ/qù cāntīng chīfàn. 
I plan to go to a bar/restaurant with my friends.

你的生日愿望是什么?, nǐ de shēng rì yuàn wàng shì shén me
What is your birthday wish?

我__岁了, wǒ __ suì le
I am __ years old. 

你要吃蛋糕吗? nǐ yào dàn gāo ma?
Do you want cake?

谢谢你的礼物, xiè xiè nǐ de lǐ wù
Thank you for the present. 

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Happy Birthday in Chinese Song 

  • 祝你生日快乐 (zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
    • Happy Birthday to You
  • 祝你生日快乐 (zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
    • Happy Birthday to You
  • 祝你幸福, 祝你健康 (zhù nǐ xìng fú, zhù nǐ jiàn kāng)
    • Here’s to your happiness, Here’s to your good health
  • 祝你前途光明 (zhù nǐ qián tú guāng míng)
    • May your future be bright
  • 祝你生日快乐 (zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
    • Happy Birthday to You
  • 祝你生日快乐 (zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
    • Happy Birthday to You
  • 祝你幸福, 祝你健康 (zhù nǐ xìng fú, zhù nǐ jiàn kāng)
    • Here’s to your happiness, Here’s to your good health
  • 有个温暖家庭 (yǒu gè wēn nuǎn jiā tíng)
    • Here’s to your family.

Chinese Birthday Traditions

Chinese people may not celebrate their birthday’s as much as in some western countries, but saying happy birthday in Chinese is something you’re bound to come across a lot. 

Chinese people usually celebrate their birthdays much quieter than other countries, getting a few friends or family together, and often only really celebrating big important birthdays.

Birthday Gift in Chinese

Traditionally, Chinese people would eat longevity noodles.

This is common in a few Asian countries and comes from the fact that the noodles are long and therefore represent long life. These noodles are called 寿面 (shòu miàn).

Nowadays, younger people look towards the west and celebrate in a similar way.

Birthday cake is becoming the norm and people are celebrating with much larger parties – and every year, instead of traditionally just big birthdays for significant years. 

Despite this, celebrating a birthday in China is still kept as an important family event, especially so for newborns and the elderly.

Chinese Birthday Gifts 

Once you’ve learnt how to say happy birthday in Chinese to your good Chinese friend, you’ll want to pay attention to some important gift-giving rules in China. (Look back up for the word for birthday present in Chinese).

China, a country still shrouded by traditions and suspicions, has some pretty strict rules for what not to give for a birthday present. 

Good gifts for Chinese people basically involve all of the normal stuff. For example, chocolates, cosmetics, clothing, etc. 

👉👉👉 Follow our complete go-to guide on gift giving in China here.

happy birthday in chinese

Bad Chinese Birthday Gifts

  • Clocks
    Clocks represent time, so giving a clock could suggest that time is running out. The Chinese words meaning to ‘give a clock’ 送鐘 (sòng zhōng) sounds like (or exactly the same actually) 送終 (sòng zhōng) which means to pay one’s last respects.
  • Towels
    Towels are often given out at funerals, so these are best avoided to avoid association. 
  • White/yellow chrysanthemums
    These are usually given at funerals.

Another interesting example… don’t get a mirror! Why?

A mirror is a bad gift in China because they are seen to attract ghosts, so avoid giving these as gifts!

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Want to learn birthday based vocbulary?

Why not check out our articles on how to say happy birthday in Japanese, Korean, Russian and also Vietnamese as well!

Birthday in Chinese || FAQs

How do you say Happy Birthday in Chinese?

Happy Birthday in Chinese is 生日快乐 – shēngrì kuàilè.

How do you say gift in Chinese?

Gift in Chinese is 礼物 Lǐwù.

How do you say “When is your birthday” in Chinese?
What is a bad birthday gift in Chinese?

Clocks and shoes because they have bad homophones.

Also towels and white/yellow chrysanthemums which have links to funerals. are all bad birthday gift choices as they have bad connotations in Chinese.

Is it true Chinese like to eat noodles on their birthday?

It is! Traditionally, Chinese people would eat longevity noodles on their birthday.

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    Alexander Krasnov , Student Advisor

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