How To Say Happy Birthday In Korean

Want to wish someone a happy birthday in Korean? You’ve come to the right place! Wishing someone a happy birthday in Korean is a great way to show your Korean friends, loved ones, and co-workers that you care.

As you are probably aware, in Korean there are different levels of politeness and so there are different ways to say happy birthday in Korean depending on who you are talking to. In this post, we have put together a guide to show you how to say happy birthday in Korean, including the informal, polite, and formal ways to wish someone a happy birthday in Korean.

Want to sing happy birthday in Korean? We’ll also teach you the Korean happy birthday song lyrics.

You May Also Like: How To Say Congratulations In Korean, How To Calculate Korean Age

How To Say Happy Birthday In Korean

The most common ways to say happy birthday in Korean are 생일 축하해요 (saeng-il chu-ka-hae-yo) and 생일 축하합니다 (saeng-il chu-ka-ham-ni-da). 생일 축하해요 is the polite way to say happy birthday, and 생일 축하합니다 is the formal way. These expressions are made up of 생일 (birthday) and the verb 축하하다 (to congratulate.)

As these are the polite and formal ways to say happy birthday in Korean, 생일 축하해요 and 생일 축하합니다 can be used in most situations. Let’s look at the different ways to say happy birthday in Korean in more detail.

Informal Happy Birthday In Korean

Informal Happy Birthday In Korean
The Informal Way To Say Happy Birthday In Korean

The informal way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하해 [saeng-il chu-ka-hae]. This expression is made up of the words 생일, which means ‘birthday’, and the verb 축하하다, which means ‘to congratulate’. When conjugated in the present tense, this becomes 생일 축하해 [saeng-il chu-ka-hae]. So, 생일 축하해 literally says ‘birthday congratulations’, but this is how you say ‘Happy Birthday’ in Korean.

As this is the informal way to say happy birthday, this should only be used with people you are very close to, such as your close friends and family, or someone who is much younger than you. With other people, you should use the polite or formal form, which is what we will look at next.

Polite Happy Birthday In Korean

Polite Happy Birthday In Korean
The Polite Way To Say Happy Birthday In Korean

The polite way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하해요 [saeng-il chu-ka-hae-yo]. As you can see, this is the same as the previous way to say happy birthday, but with the polite ending’‘ attached. As this is the polite way to say happy birthday in Korean, it can be used in most situations. If you would like to show more respect, you can use the formal way to say happy birthday.

Formal Happy Birthday In Korean

Formal Happy Birthday In Korean
Formal Way To Say Happy Birthday In Korean

In some situations, you may wish to say happy birthday in a respectful way. For example, if you are wishing someone older than you happy birthday, or someone you are not very close with, and you want to be polite and respectful, you can use the formal way to say happy birthday in Korean.

The formal way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하합니다 [saeng-il chu-ka-ham-ni-da]. This is made up of 생일 (birthday) + 축하하다 (to congratulate) + the formal ending ~(스)ㅂ니다.

Extra Formal Happy Birthday In Korean

Extra Formal Way To Say Happy Birthday In Korean
Extra Formal Way To Say Happy Birthday In Korean

When saying happy birthday in Korean, as well as changing the ending of the sentence to make it sound more polite and formal, you can also change the verb to make it sound even more formal.

A more formal way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하 드려요 [saeng-il chu-ka deu-ryeo-yo]. This is made up of 생일 (birthday) + 축하 (noun – congratulations) + the verb 드리다 (formal way to say ‘give’) + the polite ending . Together, it becomes 생일 축하 드려요 which literally translates as ‘Birthday congratulations give’ or ‘I give you birthday congratulations.’.

You can even make this more formal expression and make it extra formal by changing the polite ending to the formal ending ~(스)ㅂ니다 to make 생일 축하 드립니다. As this is the extra formal way to say happy birthday, you would only use it with people you are really not close with and who you would like to wish happy birthday in a polite and respectful way.

Saying Happy Birthday To People Much Older Than You

If you want to say happy birthday to someone much older than you, such as your grandparents, you can say 생신 축하드립니다 [saeng-sin chu-ka-deu-rim-ni-da]. This expression uses the formal way to say birthday (생신) plus the noun for congratulations (축하) plus the formal verb for ‘give’ (드리다) plus the formal ending ~(스)ㅂ니다.

As you can see this way to say happy birthday in Korean is very formal, so you can use it when you wish to show lots of respect when wishing someone much older than you a happy birthday.

Korean Happy Birthday Song Lyrics

Just like in other countries, Korea also as a special ‘Happy Birthday Song’ that they sing on someone’s birthday. Luckily, it is to the same tune as the English ‘Happy Birthday Song’ so it is really easy to learn. Here are the Korean happy birthday song lyrics along with English romanized letters so you can easily sing a long, even if you’ve not yet learned how to read the Korean alphabet.

생일 축하합니다
[saeng-il chu-ka-ham-ni-da]
생일 축하합니다
[saeng-il chu-ka-ham-ni-da]
사랑하는 (person’s name) 씨
[sa-rang-ha-neun (person’s name) ssi]
생일 축하합니다
[saeng-il chu-ka-ham-ni-da]


Thanks for reading. Now that you can wish someone a happy birthday in Korean, and sing happy birthday to them, why not check out our free Korean lessons and Korean vocabulary lists to learn more useful Korean expressions you can impress your Korean friends with.