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Birthdays play an important role in the Arabic culture. It’s a great occasion to gather with family and friends and celebrate, regardless of what age someone is turning in that particular year. People of all ages love celebrating birthdays. So how do you say happy birthday in Arabic?

Arabic Happy Birthday

The Arabic happy birthday is a little more complex than the English way. To better understand (and remember) the phrase Arabs use to wish someone a happy birthday, it’s important to know the meaning. Happy birthday in Arabic is basically wishing someone to stay blessed and healthy in many years to come.

Happy Birthday in Arabic to a Male

It’s important to note as well that the way of saying happy birthday differs according to the gender: whether you’re talking to a man or a woman.

When talking to a man, the correct way of saying happy birthday in Arabic is kol saneh ou inta salem ( كل سنة وانت سالم ). Another way is kol a’am wa inta bi kheir ( كل عام وانت بخير ). Both wishes practically mean the same thing: Be healthy every year to come.

Happy Birthday in Arabic to a Female

As mentioned above, the Arabic language often has a slightly different form according to the gender. If you’d like to wish your female friend a happy birthday, you’d say kol saneh ou inti salmeh ( كل سنة وانتِ سالمة ). An alternative would be kol a’am wa inti bi kheir ( كل عام وانتِ بخير ).

As you can see, the difference between the male and the female form is really small. It’s basically the pronoun “you” (inta/inti) that changes its final short vowel. Additionally, in the first way of saying, the salem changes to the female salmeh.

The above mentioned greetings are widely used and understood across the entire Middle East: in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Egypt. Of course, there are many more ways of wishing a happy birthday in Arabic: from more formal ways to local dialects.

Happy Birthday Song

Naturally, there’s also a happy birthday song in Arabic! The Arabic happy birthday song originated in Egypt in the years 1960 and gained popularity across the Arabic world after its appearance in a popular Lebanese movie.

The song goes “sana helwa ya gameel, sana helwa ya gameel, sana helwa ya (name), sana helwa ya gameel”. By the way “sana helwa” literally means “sweet year”, and it yet another way of saying happy birthday. While it’s hugely popular in the song, most people won’t use these words to wish someone a happy birthday, but rather one of the two ways of saying mentioned above.

Below is a video of a funny happy birthday song. Great to give your Arabic friend or colleague a surprise with a smile on top.

Expressions at a Glance

Below is a summary of the expressions used in this article and their English equivalent. The Latin script can help you with the correct pronunciation of you can’t read Arabic.

English EquivalentArabic (Latin Script)Arabic (Arabic Script)
Happy birthday (to a man)kol saneh ou inta salemكل سنة وانت سالم
Happy birthday (to a man)kol a’am wa inta bi kheirكل عام وانت بخير
Happy birthday (to a woman)kol saneh ou inti salmehكل سنة وانتِ سالمة
Happy birthday (to a woman)kol a’am wa inti bi kheirكل عام وانتِ بخير

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