Even if you know only one person from Ukraine, you’ll need to say Happy Birthday in Ukrainian at least once a year. There’s actually a couple of different ways to say “happy birthday” in Ukrainian. We’ll take a look at each of them.
1. З Днем народження! [z dnem narodzhennia] – Happy birthday!
The first one is the most popular. ‘День народження’ is ‘birthday’ in Ukrainian. As a matter of fact, the structure ‘з’ + ‘a holiday’ will be useful on many happy days:
З Новим роком! – Happy New Year!
З Різдвом! – Merry Christmas!
З річницею! – Happy anniversary!
Зі святом! – Happy holiday!
2. Вітаю! [vitaju] / Вітаємо! [vitajemo] – Congratulations!
You may remember the words вітаю and вітаємо from our article on greetings in Ukrainian. You should use the first form if you’re alone and the second one if you’re two or more people. To be more specific, add ‘з Днем народження’ in the end:
Вітаємо з Днем народження! [vitajemo z dnem narodzhennia] – Congratulations on your birthday!
3. З ювілеєм! [z juvilejem] – Happy jubilee!
As a rule, a must-have ювілей [juvilej] is the 50th birthday. It is the second biggest celebration in person’s life (after a coming of age party).
The 25th celebration is also ювілей but a bit more modest. At the same time, some people would call any round number their jubilee – 20, 30, 40, etc.
Use this joyous occasion to change your regular Happy Birthday to this special exclamation. To mix it up a little, feel free to use вітаю with it.
4. Многая літа! [mnohaja lita] – May you be granted many years!
Caution: this one is a bit old-fashioned, but traditional. There is also a song with this phrase which is the closest song to ‘Happy Birthday to You’ that we have. The song was first sung mostly in church, but now we have modern interpretations of it, like this one:
5. З ДН! – HBD!
As you may have guessed, this one doesn’t sound too inspired. In contrast to Многая літа, this one is much more common among youngsters as it is very convenient to use in a text. If you feel like typing extra, add four more letters: З ДН тебе! [z deen tebe] – HBD to you!
Saying “happy birthday” in Ukrainian is an important phrase for any learner. Isn’t it fun to wish your Ukrainian friend happy birthday knowing that it means something more special to them than it does to you?
Listen to our birthday episode on Ukrainian Lessons Podcast to hear some of the expressions in action. So, how are you going to say it next time?
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