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Life Event Messages: “Happy Birthday” in Afrikaans & More!

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Want to have easy access to your Afrikaans friend’s hearth and heart? Learn which holidays they observe and the life events they celebrate, and you’re nearly there! Then, it will be good to know what messages they use on these occasions, including how to say “Happy Birthday” in Afrikaans, for instance. Another important one to know is “Happy New Year!” in Afrikaans.

We teach you these and many more at AfrikaansPod101, ideal for learning without stress or struggle! Celebrating these life events is an excellent way to practice your Afrikaans and learn how to pronounce these phrases like native speakers do.

Improve your vocabulary and overall speaking skills with these handy phrases. Using these, and engaging with your Afrikaans friend when wishing them well, you’ll pick up key vocabulary, sayings, and phrases, as well as cultural insights that you won’t find in any travel guide.

In this article, we share with you the key phrases popularly used in South Africa to celebrate life events and South African holidays. Adapt these for social media, or hand-written cards to go with gifts. The best way, though, would be to deliver them in person, using your own voice!

But before we continue, tell us in the comments below how to say “Happy birthday” in your native language! And “Merry Christmas?” In fact, let us know any important life event message you can think of!

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Table of Contents

  1. Congratulations in Afrikaans for Birthdays
  2. Baby Showers and Christenings/Baptisms
  3. Holiday Greetings in Afrikaans
  4. Other Special Occasions & Greetings in Afrikaans
  5. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Important Life Event Messages?

1. Congratulations in Afrikaans for Birthdays

Happy Birthday

Like in most other cultures, birthdays are special events. The traditions followed in South Africa are mostly Anglo-American, with some sort of celebration marking the day whose birthday is being observed. Traditionally, children get parties with lots of special treats, while older children and adults get to dictate what type of celebration they prefer—small and quiet, or large and loud!

What’s your favorite way of celebrating a birthday? Share with us in the comments…

Gelukkige verjaarsdag! is a direct translation of “Happy birthday.” While it won’t be incorrect to use as is, it’s probably a more suitable message for that Afrikaans colleague or friend you don’t know very well. It’s an informal phrase.

Lots of creative license is allowed here, though, as most Afrikaners enjoy originality, especially if you know the birthday person well.

How to say “Happy birthday” in Afrikaans is easy. It has a few permutations, but the traditional one is still the most popularly used. All of the following are suitable for use in any format you prefer, whether it be writing, texting, or a verbal congratulations in Afrikaans.

Boy Blowing Out Candles on Birthday Cake

1- Informal Birthday Wishes

Afrikaans: Baie geluk met jou verjaarsdag!
Translation: “Congratulations on your birthday!”
Notes: This wish is the traditional “Happy birthday” in Afrikaans, and is suitable for use in any situation and for any person, no matter how well you know them. Replace the informal pronoun jou (you) with the more formal u. The latter is used when addressing people much older than yourself, a dignitary, or a person senior to you in position at work. This is especially necessary in large corporations with a more formal work environment.

Afrikaans: Baie geluk en hoop jou dag is spesiaal!
Translation: “Congratulations and hope your day is special!”

Afrikaans: Geluk en mag jou verjaarsdag wonderlik wees!
Translation: “Congratulations, and may your birthday be wonderful.”

2- Formal Birthday Wishes

Afrikaans: Baie geluk met u verjaarsdag. Mag die lewensjaar wat voorlê baie voorspoedig wees.
Translation: “Congratulations on your birthday. May the (life) year ahead be very prosperous.”

Afrikaans: Baie geluk en beste wense op u verjaarsdag.
Translation: “Congratulations and best wishes on your birthday.”

Also, if you’ve missed a birthday, rectify it with this phrase:

Afrikaans: Laat verjaarsdagwense! Hoop dit was ‘n wonderlike dag gewees.
Translation: “Belated birthday wishes! Hope it was a wonderful day.”

2. Baby Showers and Christenings/Baptisms

Talking About Age

Babies and kids are big news among Afrikaners. News of a new one on its way will almost always elicit “Aaaaaw!”s and many congratulations from friends and strangers alike! Most often, the pregnant mom gets a surprise “baby shower” (ooievaarstee) from her close female family, friends, and colleagues. The event normally involves a lavish tea party with gift-giving to spoil both Mom and new Baby, obviously accompanied by many good wishes.

Once the little one has arrived, many religious Afrikaans parents choose to observe the well-known Christian blessing ceremony, A.K.A. a christening (also called “baptism” ) or a doop. The event is usually celebrated in style, with a huge family lunch after the church ceremony. Giving gifts on this occasion isn’t common, but still welcome.

Baby Christening

All these well-wishes can be adapted for texting, delivered in person, or expressed in a hand-written card or letter. Also, these are such intimate events in the lives of families that all heartfelt, sincere messages are appropriate and welcome. This means there’s normally no distinction between formal and informal messages. If you’re addressing a very senior person, you could perhaps replace the informal pronouns (jou; julle / “you” ) with the formal u in Afrikaans.

1- Baby Shower

Afrikaans: Baie geluk met die nuweling! Mag hy/sy jou net vreuge bring!
Translation: “Congratulations on the new baby! May he/she bring you only joy!”
Note: Obviously, use the gender pronoun only if you know it.

Afrikaans: Baie gelukwense met julle/jou bondeltjie vreugde!
Translation: “Many congratulations on your bundle of joy!”
Note: Jou = singular and julle = plural for “you.”

Afrikaans: Welkom by ons, Kleinding!
Translation: “Welcome, Little One!”

Newborn Baby with Mother

2- Christenings

Afrikaans: Liefde en seënwense aan almal op (baby’s name) se doopdag.
Translation: “Love and wishes of blessings to everyone on (baby’s name)’s day of christening.”

Afrikaans: Mag julle kleinding se lewe geseënd en voorspoedig wees.
Translation: “May your little one’s life be blessed and prosperous.”

Afrikaans: Wense van seën, voorspoed en liefde aan julle kleinding en die familie op hierdie spesiale dag!
Translation: “Wishes of blessings, prosperity, and love to your little one and the family on this special day!”

3- Social Media Posts for Baby Showers and Christenings

If you like keeping your social media friends and followers updated on big life events, you could consider these posts, preferably with a photo or two:

Afrikaans: My spesiale ooievaarstee..! Baie dankie, almal!
Translation: “My special baby shower…! Thank you so much, everyone!”

Afrikaans: Soveel spesiale geskenke van spesiale mense. Het nie woorde nie…!
Translation: “So many special gifts from special people. Have no words…!”

Afrikaans: Die doop seremonie was pragtig en geseënd. Dankie vir mooi herinneringe.
Translation: “The christening ceremony was special and blessed. Thank you for beautiful memories.”

Afrikaans: Wonderlike bymekaarkom na die doop. (Baby’s name) loved it!
Translation: “Wonderful get-together after the christening. (Baby’s name) loved it!”

3. Holiday Greetings in Afrikaans

Wishing someone a happy holiday in Afrikaans mostly involves religious days observed by Christians, especially Christmas (Kersfees) and Easter (Paasfees). The only other holiday greeting worth noting is “Happy New Year” in Afrikaans. This is celebrated on the first day of January each year, based on the Gregorian calendar. Of course, other religions’ festivals are also observed, such as Jewish Hanukkah, the Indian Dipawali (Indian Festival of Light), and the Chinese Lunar New Year, but these are not public holidays in South Africa.

The most simple greetings, such as “Merry Christmas” in Afrikaans, are still the most popular and used formally and informally, in any format. This could be formulated by simply adding a Geseënde (blessed) or a Gelukkige (happy/merry) in front of the festival or holiday’s name. Such as in:

Afrikaans: Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar!
Translation: “Happy New Year!”

Afrikaans: Geseënde Hanukkah!
Translation: “Blessed Hanukkah!”

Couple at a Party

If you need to be a bit more creative, you can use the following holiday greetings in Afrikaans.

Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees! Mag dit ‘n vreugdevolle tyd vir almal wees.
Translation: “Blessed Christmas! May it be a merry time for everyone.”

Afrikaans: Mag die nuwe jaar propvol goeie verrassings wees!
Translation: “May the new year be full of good surprises!”

Afrikaans: Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar vir jou en jou geliefdes!
Translation: “Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!”

Afrikaans: Geseënde vakansie hierdie jaar!
Translation: “Happy holidays this year!”

Afrikaans: Beste wense vir die nuwe jaar!
Translation: “Best wishes for the new year!”

Other best wishes in Afrikaans are appropriate for events such as funerals, graduations, landing a new job, and so forth.

These are the most widely-celebrated occasions, but of course, there are others too.

4. Other Special Occasions & Greetings in Afrikaans

Let’s take a look at other special events and their messages.

1- Condolences: Funerals, Illnesses, etc.

Any heartfelt condolences in Afrikaans will go down well—the Afrikaners appreciate real and sincere more than socially or grammatically correct! Your well-wishes from the heart in times of death, illness, or anything stressful will be much appreciated.

Tip: These Afrikaans condolences messages themselves can be used formally or informally. Here, they’re all written for informal address. Change it to formal address by replacing all pronouns (jy; jou; julle) that refer to the person being addressed, to u in Afrikaans.

Afrikaans Condolences: Funeral and Bereavement

Afrikaans: Innige simpatie met jou verlies. Ons hou jou in ons harte.
Translation: “Sincere condolences for your loss. We hold you in our hearts.”

Afrikaans: Diepe meegevoel met julle groot hartseer. Julle is in ons gebede en gedagtes.
Translation: “Sincere condolences for your huge sadness. You are in our prayers and thoughts.”
Note: This “you,” or julle, refers to more than one person. Change it to the singular “you” by simply replacing julle with jou in the first sentence, and jy in the second.

Afrikaans: Woorde is ontoereikend in hierdie tyd van hartseer en verlies. Mag jy omring word met vrede en liefde.
Translation: “Words are inadequate in this time of sadness and bereavement. May you be surrounded with peace and love.”
Note: This “you,” or jy, refers to a single person. Change it to the plural “you” by simply replacing jy with julle.

Afrikaans Condolences: Illness and Operations

Doctor with Patient

Afrikaans: Mag jy gou aansterk en vinnig op die been wees na die operasie!
Translation: “May you recover quickly after the operation!”

Afrikaans: Beste wense met ‘n vinnige herstel! Laat weet as ek met enigiets kan help.
Translation: “Best wishes for a quick recovery! Let me know if I can help with anything.”

Afrikaans: Baie voorspoed en liefde in hierdie tyd van siekte en swaarkry. Jy is in my gedagtes en gebede.
Translation: “Best wishes and love in this time of illness and suffering. You are in my thoughts and prayers.”
Note: This message is suitable if you want to wish someone well after a bad diagnosis of a dreaded disease such as cancer.

2- Best Wishes: Weddings, Job Promotions, Graduations, etc

Marriage Proposal

Afrikaans Wedding Congratulations

Afrikaans: Hiermee net die mooiste wense vir die mooiste paartjie! Mag julle huwelik geseënd wees met geluk en voorspoed.
Translation: “With this, only the most beautiful wishes for the most beautiful couple! May your marriage be blessed with happiness and prosperity.”

Afrikaans: Uiteindelik – die troue waarvoor almal gewag en na uitgesien het! Mag die dag wonderlik wees met ‘n leeftyd van geluk wat voorlê.
Translation: “At last—the wedding everyone waited for and looked forward to! May the day be wonderful, with a lifetime of happiness ahead of you.”

Afrikaans: Geluk met julle huwelik, en hoop die jare vorentoe is vol vreugde en seën.
Translation: “Congratulations on your marriage and may the years ahead be filled with joy and blessings.”

Promotion, New Job, etc

Afrikaans: Baie geluk met die nuwe werk/promosie!
Translation: “Congratulations on the new job/promotion!”

Afrikaans: Veels geluk met die promosie! Jy het dit verdien.
Translation: “Congratulations on the promotion! You deserved it.”

Afrikaans: Geluk met die nuwe werk – hulle kon nie ‘n beter persoon aangestel het nie…
Translation: “Congratulations on the new job—they couldn’t have chosen a better person…”

Graduation

Basic Questions

Afrikaans: Baie geluk met jou graduering!
Translation: “Congratulations on your graduation!”

Afrikaans: Dit was nooit ‘n geheim dat jy kon nie! Baie gelukwense met jou prestasie.
Translation: “It was never a secret that you could! Many congratulations on your accomplishment.”

Afrikaans: Geluk met jou graduering; ons is trots op jou!
Translation: “Congratulations on your graduation; we are proud of you!”

How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Important Life Event Messages?

Learning how to say “Happy New Year!” in Afrikaans is easy and fun, just as we designed it to be! With over a decade of experience, we draw on expert knowledge of online language-learning techniques to offer you a unique learning space. Thousands of Afrikaans lessons are available, together with free resources such as Apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Kindle Fire. With AfrikaansPod101, you can also create your own collection of vocab lists, learn the Afrikaans alphabet, and so much more!

Many enrollment options are available to suit your personal needs. For instance, don’t be alone in your learning—sign up for your personal tutor with Premium Plus. Our friendly hosts are available 24/7 online to help you master Afrikaans easily. With a bit of effort and perseverance, you could do so in record time. So, don’t wait—sign up now and wish your Afrikaans friends well in their own language during their next big life event!

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