Numerous cultures around the world kick off birthday celebrations with a specific song designed to congratulate someone on the anniversary of their birth. In a new video, Condé Nast Traveler brought 70 people together from nations across the world to demonstrate how to sing “Happy Birthday” in their native language.
The short video features singers from South Africa, Malaysia, Estonia, Taiwan, Belgium, and dozens of other places singing the birthday song they would use at home.
Most follow the familiar tune that English speakers use when they sing “Happy Birthday.” That famous melody was originally written as a children’s song called “Good Morning to All” by sisters Mildred Hill and Patty Smith Hill in the late 1800s (though it may have been based off a folk tune).
Notably, some of the international songs in the video feature very different melodies that might not be recognizable to the foreign ear. If you’re used to the melody used in the English version of the song, you might not even recognize that the songs from Russia, Iran, Sweden, or Greece are birthday songs—unlike iterations from Germany, Georgia, Lebanon, China, and elsewhere that follow the "Good Morning to All" tune. The video also features input from some people whose native countries don't sing any songs at all.
Practice your international birthday-celebration skills using the video below.