Korean Language Blog

“Happy Birthday!” in Korean Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Grammar, Vocabulary

It is hard to believe that we have already entered the month of May, 2018. Where did the time go? In May, there are several birthdays to celebrate, including mine; so this month often gives me a reason to pause from my busy life and also offers me a reminder of how grateful I am for my life and for my loved ones. Do you know how to wish someone, “Happy Birthday!” in Korean?

A birthday is a significant day that people mark their milestones in their lives every year. Since people have one day special for themselves or for people around them every year, knowing how to say “Happy Birthday!” in Korean will be a useful expression for you to learn. If your Korean co-workers or friends have a birthday soon, it would be a great opportunity for you to show your gratitude toward their existence or simply to make them feel special on their birthday. The followings are three different ways to say “Happy Birthday!” in Korean:

  1. Formal: [sang-il chook-ha-hap-ni-da]  생일 축하합니다!
  2. Polite: [sang-il chook-ha-hae-yo]          생일 축하해요!
  3. Informal : [sang-il chook-ha-hae]         생일 축하해!

Photo by KLM

Recently, I went to one of my friend’s 생일 (birthday) celebration, and we all had such a lovely time together. Since everyone’s life has been hectic in 2018, this birthday celebration gave us an opportunity to get together and to catch-up with each other. As numerous cultures do, Korean people celebrate this special day with a 선물 (present), 꽃 (flowers),  a 카드(birthday card), 케이크 (birthday cake), and 파티 (birthday party).

However, there is a special birthday food that Koreans must have. On a birthday morning, a Korean starts his/her day with 미역국 (seaweed soup). As a matter of fact, 미역국  is one of my favorite Korean soups. If you enjoy watching K-drama, you probably have seen Korean people eating 미역국  on their birthdays.

  1. [sang-il] 생일 : birthday
  2. Polite: [sang-il-ee un-je-ye-yo]  생일이 언제예요?  :  When is your birthday?
  3. [sun-mool]  선물 : present
  4. [kkot]    : flower
  5. [ca-deo]  카드  : birthday card
  6. [ke-ee-k]  케이크 :  birthday cake
  7. [pa-tee]   파티  :  birthday party
  8. [mi-yeok-gook]  미역국 :  seaweed soup

Photo by KLM

Every Korean has a birthday, one day special for him or her, so the above list of vocabulary and expressions will become very useful for you to learn. By the way, I would love to hear how to say “Happy Birthday!” in your language, and if there is any special thing your culture does to celebrate someone’s birthday.

If you were born in May like I was:

생일 축하합니다!

생일 축하해요!

생일 축하해!

감사합니다(Thank you!)

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About the Author: Kyung-Hwa

안녕하세요? My name is Kyung-Hwa, and I am a native of South Korea. I am accustomed to both English and Korean languages and cultures. I greatly appreciate and love both of them. I am passionate about learning different languages, and I have studied English, Japanese, and Spanish. In my spare time, I take joy in singing, playing the piano, and reading books. I also enjoy traveling around the world, meeting people, and embracing new cultures and languages...


  1. Kyung-Hwa:

    I appreciate your comment ^^)

  2. Kyung-Hwa:

    I really appreciate your kind comment!

  3. jam:

    Ne! annyeong! 🙂 Gumawoseo jinjja~ 🙂

    • Kyung-Hwa:

      @jam An-nyeong-ha-se-yo!(안녕하세요!)
      Thanks for a cute comment ~~^^!!
      [Jeo-do jin-cha go-ma-weo-yo!] 저도 진짜 고마워요!