2 Easy Ways To Say Happy Birthday In Hawaiian

Today we are going to talk about how to say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian. Let’s imagine you are throwing an Aloha style party. You got your room decorated, themed snacks are all ready and waiting for the guests to arrive, the only thing missing is a traditional Hawaiian happy birthday song. My friends organized a similar party about a year ago, and I can tell you that them singing a happy birthday song in Hawaiian added such an atmosphere to the party, the traditional Marilyn Monroe thing won’t stand a chance in this situation!

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There are 2 ways in which you can say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian:

  • Hauʻoli Lā Hānau = Happy Day of Birth
  • Hauʻoli Lā Piha Makahiki = Happy Day Full Year (in other words, you congratulate the person on successfully completing the whole year of their life)

Here you can see that the spelling includes two specific letters, the okina (which is the same character as the single open quote) which represents the glottal stop (a consonant) and the kahakō (which is the line over the ā) indicating a longer vowel sound.

Here is a song that will help you with the pronunciation:


If you are good singing( and even if you are not), you can take it up a notch and not just say Happy Birthday, but sing a little song in Hawaiian. Here it is:

Hau’oli la hanau ia ‘oe, (How-oh-lee law hah-now yah oh-way)
Hau’oli la hanau ia ‘oe,
Hau’oli la hanau ia “person’s name”,
Hau’oli la hanau ia ‘oe

Here is a video that explains how you should pronounce each word exactly.


Here are a few interesting Hawaiian traditions which might help you in making your birthday party more authentic:

  1. Kiss on a cheek. Greetings in Hawaii usually start with a kiss on the cheek, even for first-time introductions. It is not common in many families, but I think it will be a great idea to post a sign outside your house that today everybody is to greet each other with a kiss on a cheek.
  2. No shoes in the house are allowed. Wearing shoes in a home in Hawaii is not very customarily. Shoes and slippers are always to be left on the doorstep to avoid bringing dirt into the house. So for your party, you can provide colorful footwear for your guests to change and make your birthday even more Hawaiian.
  3. Aloha clothes. This can be a highlight of your party. Aloha style clothes are the true representation of Hawaii — a clothing style with traditional Hawaiian floral prints or loose-hanging neutrals, usually in the form of shirts, muumuu dresses, and even pants for all genders.  Ask your guests to dress in this style, and your party will be so vibrant with colors!
  4. Giving of lei. The giving of a lei is by far the most popular Hawaiian tradition. Gifting a lei is appropriate on many occasions including birthdays, graduations or even retirements.


Today we have discussed how you can wish somebody a Happy Birthday and even sing a song in Hawaiian. Celebrating children’s 1st birthday used to be a vital part of Hawaiian people followed by festivities and celebrations, which was caused by a high mortality rate among children. Today we luckily get a chance to celebrate a birthday just because we want to spend some quality time with our friends and family, regardless of how big your party is and how many guests are invited.