How to Say Happy Birthday in Korean

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Like most cultures, Koreans celebrate birthdays. Although they calculate age a bit differently (look forward to a post on that in the future), they have birthday parties, sing happy birthday, and enjoy the time with their friends and families.

미역국 is traditionally eaten on birthdays here, and many feel it is not a complete birthday without it.

Also, important dates for birthdays are the first birthday where friends and family come and celebrate (called a 돌잔치). In this ceremony, the baby picks out things set on a table such as money, a gavel, a pencil, etc. and whatever the baby chooses will have something to do with their career in the future.

Another big birthday is the 60th birthday. Of course most are grandpas and grandmas by this age and it is a really big deal to most families.

In the graphic, you can see how to sing the birthday song in Korean (we’ve also put the lyrics + romanized below). It follows the same tune as the birthday song we all know just in…Korean.

Vocabulary and phrases used in this graphic:

생일 (saeng-il) = Birthday

생일파티 (saeng-il-pa-ti) = Birthday party

양초 (yang-cho) = Candle

미역국 (mi-yeok-guk) = Seaweed soup

돌잔치 (dol-jan-chi) = 1st birthday party

생일 축하합니다 (saeng-il chuk-ha-ham-ni-da)= Happy Birthday (Standard formal)

생일 축하해요 (saeng-il chuk-ha-hae-yo) = Happy Birthday (Standard…always used with friends and family)

생일 축하드립니다 (saeng-il chuk-ha-deu-rim-ni-da)= Happy Birthday (Very formal)

Happy Birthday song in Korean lyrics:



사랑하는 (name) 씨


(saeng-il chuk-ha-ham-ni-da)

(saeng-il chuk-ha-ham-ni-da)

(sa-rang-ha-neun [name] sshi)

(saeng-il chuk-ha-ham-ni-da)