Norwegian Language Blog

Happy Anniversaries and Stuff Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Holidays, Traditions

(Non-copyrighted image from Open Clipart.)

Life is full of anledninger (opportunities, occasions) to feire (celebrate) – and also sometimes to sørge (mourn). Here’s a small guide to help you choose some kind words for your Norwegian friends’ great life events.

Let’s start with the sad part: When somebody has lost a loved one, a decent way of showing your respect would be: Jeg kondolerer. (My condolences.)

In more joyful situations, gratulerer med (congratulations with) will take you far. For example, a new baby is born. You could, of course, go with a short: Gratulerer! (Congratulations!) To add a little more context, however, it’s a good idea to be specific:

  • Gratulerer med barnet! (Congratulations with the child!)
  • Gratulerer med barnebarnet! (Congratulations with the grandchild!)
  • Gratulerer så mye med den skjønne datteren! (Lots of congratulations with your beautiful daugther!)

Bursdager (birthdays) are a recurrent event in Norwegians’ lives. Gratulerer med dagen! (Happy birthday!) is usually the thing to say – also on May 17th, when Norwegians share this greeting as a way to celebrate the nation’s ”birthday” (Constitution Day). If you want to specify that it’s not the country you’re wishing a happy birthday, you can always elongate to gratulerer med bursdagen! And if the actual birthday was some days ago, you still have the option to say: Gratulerer med vel overstått! (Happy ”well-passed” [birthday]!)

This formula is useful in a lot of situations:

  • Gratulerer med førerkort/lappen (congratulations with your driving licence)
  • Gratulerer med vel overstått eksamen (congratulations with your ”well-passed” exam)
  • Gratulerer med den nye jobben (congratulations with your new job)

In other settings, use some combination of god (good) and lykke til (good luck):

  • God konfirmasjon! (Happy confirmation!)
  • Lykke til i Nordnorge (good luck in Northern Norway)
  • Lykke til med den nye jobben (good luck with your new job)
  • God bryllupsfeiring! (Happy wedding celebrations!)
  • Lykke til videre! (Good luck ”further on”! Good luck for the future!)

And, the one you all waited for:

God bryllupsdag! (Happy anniversary!)

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.