Happy Birthday in Swedish

Posted on 26. Jul, 2012 by in Culture

This blog has been plugging along now for over five years now! Pretty impressive. The blogs fifth birthday was just last month in fact. With that in mind, I think it’s time to take a quick look at singing Happy Birthday in Swedish. Of course, it is not a direct translation, and doesn’t even use the same melody, but that’s what makes it a bit exciting. I’ve included the lyrics below as well as a YouTube clip from the film Sånghatten (there are puppets involved. Puppets with adult human hands. It’s a bit creepy, just be warned.).

The Swedish version of Happy Birthday is called Ja må du leva. And the personal pronoun is generally adapted depending on who youa re singing to. If someone identitifes as a man, then the song will generally be sung as J a å han leva, if someone identifies as a woman, then the song will probably be sung as Ja må hon leva. You get the idea.

So, without further ado, the lyrics to Ja må du leva:

Ja, må han leva!
Ja, må han leva!
Ja, må han leva uti hundrade år!
Javisst ska han leva!
Javisst ska han leva!
Javisst ska han leva uti hundrade år!

In English:

Yes, may he live!
Yes, may he live!
Yes, may he live for a hundred years!
Of course he will live!
Of course he will live!
Of course he will live for a hundred years!

The song usually ends with four repetitions of “Hurra!” And if people are feeling especially adventurours, there is a second verse that is sometimes sung:

Och när han har levat!
Och när han har levat!
Och när han har levat uti hundrade år!
Ja, då ska han skjutas!
Ja, då ska han skjutas!
Ja, då ska han skjutas på en skottkärra fram!

In English:

And when he has lived
And when he has lived
And when he has lived for a hundred years!
Yes, then he will be wheeled
Yes, then he will be wheeled
Yes, then he will be wheeled away in a wheelbarrow!

YouTube Preview Image

Tags: , , ,

8 Responses to “Happy Birthday in Swedish”

  1. Hauke 27 July 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    In Denmark there are regional variants of the intonation of the hurras, like e.g. increasing the pitch for the third one. If you use the wrong one it is obvious you are from elsewhere or a different group. Is there something similar in Sweden?

  2. Jerry Olson 28 July 2012 at 1:18 am #

    Thank-You Marcus.

  3. Susanna 9 August 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Do not forget the last two parts! :)

    Och när hon har skjutits
    Och när hon har skjutits
    Och när hon har skjutits på en skottkärra fram!
    Ja, då ska hon hängas
    Ja, då ska hon hängas
    Ja, då ska hon hängas på en häst bak-och-fram!

    Och när hon har hängts
    Och när hon har hängts
    Och när hon har hängts på en häst bak-och-fram!
    Ja, då ska hon dränkas
    Ja, då ska hon dränkas
    Ja, då ska hon dränkas i en flaska champagne!

  4. Linn 15 May 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Speaking of which, this interview with Malin Åkerman really annoys me, because she tells Conan two things that aren’t true. The first being that Malin is an old lady’s name and that basically no young people have that name. It’s actually a very common name for young Swedish women and girls. The second is about the birthday song. She says that the song goes “we hope that you live to a hundred and then we’re going to shoot you and put you in a wheelbarrow”. I hope that she knows that’s not the meaning of the song, because otherwise she’s completely missed that “skjuta” can mean both shoot and push.
    I don’t know, maybe I’m being overly sensitive (I don’t want my country to be misrepresented yo!), but I find it REALLY annoying when people can’t get stuff straight AND pass that “information” on to other people.

  5. Linn 15 May 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    Good thing I remembered to link to the interview :P

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sydQUn0RA2I

  6. Hansapelle 3 August 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    In Holland we sing it like this:
    Lang zal ze leven
    Lang zal ze leven
    Lang zal ze leven in de gloria
    In de gloria, in de gloria
    Hieperdepiep Hoera (3 times)

  7. Karen 13 September 2013 at 2:47 am #

    Thank you for posting the second verse. As an American of Swedish heritage, we always sang the first verse. Birthdays are such a special occasion. We always celebrate the recipient. I would like to honor the parents of the child. Hipp, hipp, hurray, to those who raise wonderful children and keep our traditions alive.


Leave a Reply