While writing a birthday card in Spanish can be a deeply moving gesture for someone from a Hispanic or Latino background, it can also prove difficult if the writer doesn’t know how to speak Spanish. A rudimentary grasp of Spanish grammar and some simple phrases makes the task significantly easier.
How to Write a Birthday Card in Spanish
Different Forms of Salutation
Unlike English, Spanish uses different grammatical forms to distinguish between intimates and superiors. If you’re writing a birthday card to a boss, for example, you won’t use the same form of “you” that you would use for a friend or romantic partner. “Tú” is the informal you, while “usted” is the formal you, which conveys respect for the person being addressed. When writing the salutation, you might address a superior with “Senor” or “Senorita” followed by his or her name, while in an informal birthday card you might say “Querido amigo” or “Querida amiga,” both phrases that mean “Dear friend” but with different endings depending on the gender of the speaker.
The Body of the Message
Once the salutations are concluded, begin the message with the traditional Spanish birthday greeting, “Feliz cumpleaños!”, which means “Happy birthday!” Offer the recipient your best wishes by saying “Yo te deseo lo mejor,” which means “I wish you all the best,” or “Yo te deseo mucho exito en el proximo ano,” which means “I wish you every success in the next year.” Conclude by telling the person “I hope you have a wonderful birthday” by saying “Espero que tengas un maravilloso cumpleaños!”
Phrases of Affirmation
If you and the recipient have a close relationship, tell her you love her by saying “Te quiero” or “Te quiero mucho,” which means “I love you” and “I love you so much” respectively. Let her know that you think about her often by saying “Siempra estás en mi mente,” which means “You’re always on my mind,” or “Yo siempre te llevo en mi corazón,” which means “I carry you always in my heart.” If the recipient is not someone with whom you're in a close relationship, a simple “Espero que lo pases bien!”, which means “I hope your day passes well,” will suffice.
Concluding the Message
Once the message is finished, sign the card with a conventional Spanish greeting like “Atentamente,” which means “Respectfully” and is commonly used in formal and business situations, or “Un cordial saludo,” which is an offer of respectful salutations. If the letter is written to a friend or partner, consider a more affectionate closing like “Cariñosamente,” which means “Affectionately yours,” or “Con mucho cariño,” which means “With much affection.” Convey love for the recipient by writing “De quien te adora,” which means “Given with much love.”
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- English-Spanish Link: General Set Expressions for Spanish Letters and Emails