Happy Birthday Song in French and Birthday Traditions

The happy birthday song in french is sung to the same tune, that we use in English. A literal translation would be a “joyous anniversary” – it is the anniversary of your birth or of the day you were born. The lyrics are simply:

  • Joyeux anniversaire
  • Joyeux anniversaire
  • Joyeux anniversaire
  • Joyeux anniversaire
  • The birthday person's name is added after the third line. For example, joyeux anniversaire Jean.



    French Birthday Traditions

    A typical birthday would start by wishing the honoree a joyeux anniversaire or bon anniversaire. For young children, birthday parties are organized with a meal, games. Birthday cake with candles is served and the happy birthday song in French is sung and presents are given. Adult birthday traditions are similar, but may include a more sophisticated meal at home or in a restaurant, flowers for the honoree and toasting with a drink and saying“santé (health)

    Birthday cakes are more French style and may even be a birthday tart.

    In France, Belgium, Switzerland and Québec the 18th birthday is particularly important; you are no longer a minor (le mineur) and have become “un majeur”. One can vote and take on many legal responsibilities.



    In Canada

    In Québec, Canada the birthday greeting bonne fête is most common and the birthday tradition is birthday person receives a punch for each year and one for good luck. The happy birthday song is:

  • Bonne fête à toi. (happy birthday to you)
  • Bonne fête à toi

  • Bonne fête (name)
  • Bonne fête à toi


  • Another French birthday song (by Jacques Larue)

  • Bon anniversaire, nos vœux les plus sincères (Happy birthday, our best wishes)
  • Que ces quelques fleurs vous apportent le Bonheur (That these flowers bring you happiness)
  • Que l'année entière vous soit douce et légère (That the entire year be sweet and light)
  • Et que l'an fini, nous soyons tous réunis ( And that at the end of the year we all reunite)
  • Pour chanter en chœur: "Bon Anniversaire!" (To sing in chorus happy birthday)


  • French Vocabulary

    What date is your birthday? Quelle est la date de ton anniversaire?
    My birthday is … Mon anniversaire est…
    Birthday cake Gâteau d'anniversaire
    Candles Les bougies

    Presents Les cadeaux
    Birthday card Une carte d'anniversaire
    Birthday present Un cadeau d'anniversaire
    Happy Birthday Joyeux anniversaire
    Happy Birthday Bon anniversaire

    Happy Birthday Bonne fête

    Birthday party Fête d'anniversaire
    How old are you? Quel âge as-tu?

    I am (literally I have) 10 years old. J’ai dix ans.

    Health Santé



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