This is the first post in a new series about birthday celebrations in Paraguay. Please share your experiences with Paraguayan birthdays, no matter the birthday age, here or on the Discovering Paraguay Facebook page!


Long term visitors to Paraguay will soon find their social calendar filled to the brim with birthday parties. Whether it is a simple “asado” (barbeque) or a major blow-out (such as a “quince” or particularly over the top 1 year old’s party) all birthday celebrations have one thing in common: the birthday song. As with other countries in Latin America, Paraguay’s version is sung to the tune of the American “Happy Birthday.” This being Paraguay there is also a popular birthday polka and a Guaraní version of Happy Birthday. Check them out and get practicing so you can be prepared to sing loud and clear at the next “cumple.”

No paraguayan party is complete without a polka, and this goes for birthday parties as well. You can read the full history of “Felicidades,” by Cirilo R. Zayas, here on Portal Guaraní. The song often segues into the Spanish or Guaraní versions of Happy Birthday (as in the above example from Youtube).


Felicidades, bien de mi vida, (Congratulations, joy of my life)
que tu destino te brinde siempre felicidades, (may your destiny always bring you happiness)
que un cielo hermoso (may a beautiful sky)
de dicha eterna (of eternal fortune)
alegre siempre tu corazón.(always cheer your heart)

Sea un milagro toda tu vida, (Let your whole life be a miracle)
gloria enjoyada de realidad (glorious bejeweled reality)
y que tus sueños también reciban (and may your dreams also receive)
un tierno beso de felicidad. (a sweet kiss of happiness)

“Que los cumplas feliz”
(Sung to the tune of Happy Birthday)

Que los cumplas feliz (Happy birthday to you)
que los cumplas feliz (happy birthday to you)
en tu día dichoso (on your happy day)
que los cumplas feliz! (happy birthday to you!)

You can also sing to the birthday girl or boy a happy birthday in Guaraní. These are the words I learned from my mother but I have heard other versions as well. If you know a different version please share it!

(Also sung to the tune of Happy Birthday)
Terevy´aiteke (May you be very happy)
Terevy´aiteke (May you be very happy)
Ko nde ara oguahere (Your day has come)
Terevy´aiteke (May you be very happy)

Kids in the countryside also like to sing a joke version of Happy Birthday. It is the equivalent of the “you look like a monkey and you smell like one too” add-on verse in English. It is also sung to the tune of “Happy Birthday.”

Cumpleaños feliz, (Happy birthday)
galletita pyrai (badly baked cookies)
chocolate yrei (watery hot chocolate)

There is another joke version of Happy Birthday in Guaraní but it is very dirty and I’d rather not post it here. I’ll be happy to share it in a private message though!


Of course not everyone likes to sing. If that is the case you can simply congratulate the birthday boy/girl by saying “Felicidades,” “Feliz cumpleaños,” or “Feliz cumple.” If they will enjoy hearing you speak Guaraní you can say “Feliz santo ára.” This literally means “happy saint’s day,” in reference to the tradition of naming newborns in accordance with the Calendar of Saints (for more on this tradition check out my Old Fashioned Names post).

Know any other Paraguayan birthday songs? Are there any birthday traditions you’d like me to mention in the next post? Share them here or on the Discovering Paraguay facebook page!