Let me guess… you wanted to know how to say Happy Birthday in Sinhala because Facebook just told you that your Sinhala-speaking friend’s birthday is today and you thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll post my wishes in his/her language. That’ll be cool“?
Or perhaps it’s your Sri Lankan partner’s birthday and you wanted to give an extra special birthday wish this year (although, I hope for your sake, that you remembered it before Facebook told you)?
Either way, you decided to search online and you ended up here. Good, because then you’ll be able to relate to what I’m about to say.
I know the above title is harsh, but let me tell you why…
I too am fortunate to receive a ton of heartfelt wishes from friends all over. Granted that some of these messages are a little less thoughtful with just a straight-to-the-point ‘Happy Birthday” but hey, it’s the thought that counts (BTW, someone once just “liked” another person’s birthday wish to me. Brilliant, right? Talk about being lazy but smart…).
Anyway, every year there’ll always be a non-Sri Lankan friend of mine who gets the same bright idea to wish me Happy Birthday in Sinhala. And since he or she does not have the time to post a question in Yahoo! Answers and wait for a proper response, the next best thing is to find an online automatic translator.
I’m sure there are some good translators out there (I haven’t really searched) but based on the translated “happy birthdays” I’ve got, I’d say there might also be a couple of really crappy ones too (I’m trying my best not to say “sh*tty’ here)…
You see, one year someone wished me “su∙bȧ a∙luth auw∙rudh∙dhak vḗ∙va!”, which means “Happy new year!” in Sinhala (would’ve been perfect if I was born on the 1st of January).
Then, another year it was “aa∙yu∙bō∙wan”, which is a formal traditional greeting in Sinhala which I don’t think has ever been used as a birthday wish.
And my all-time favorite was “su∙bȧ udhḗ∙sȧ∙nak!” which just means “Good morning!”.
Okay, so maybe “idiot” was a bit of a strong word. I honestly did appreciate the effort taken by these guys to wish me in my language.
But since you’re about to wish your Sri Lankan ‘someone’ today, let me make sure you get it right the first time.
So, the correct way to say Happy Birthday in Sinhala is:
su∙bȧ u∙pan dhi∙nȧ∙yak vḗ∙va!
[su∙bȧ = “Happy/prosperous”; u∙pan dhi∙nȧ∙yak = “a birthday”; vḗ∙va = (indicates a wish e.g. “May you have…”)]
Now, on to the fun part…something more than just Happy Birthday in Sinhala
Below, I’ve collected some birthday related phrases that are typically said to the birthday boy or girl.
They might sound strange in English, but trust me, I’ve been asked each of the following from my relatives or my Sri Lankan friends, EVERY SINGLE YEAR! It’s almost like people run out of things to talk about after saying “Happy Birthday”…
So, depending on who you want to wish and how close you both are, use any of them by copying and pasting it into your Facebook wall post.
If you’re planning on saying it to someone verbally, try to get the same intonation as me (click on the sound icon); Believe me, they won’t know what hit ’em.
i∙thin, a∙dhȧ va∙yȧ∙sȧ kee∙yȧ∙dhȧ?
“So, how old are you today?” or “So, what’s your age today?”
[i∙thin = “so”; a∙dhȧ = “today”; va∙yȧ∙sȧ = “age”; kee∙yȧ∙dhȧ? = “how much?”]
u∙pan dhi∙nȧ∙yȧ∙tȧ mo∙naa∙dhȧ kȧ∙ran∙né?
‘Birthday’ é∙kȧ∙tȧ mo∙naa∙dhȧ kȧ∙ran∙né?
“What are you doing for your birthday?”
[u∙pan dhi∙nȧ∙yȧ∙tȧ = “for (your) birthday”; ‘birthday’ é∙kȧ∙tȧ = “for (your) birthday” (borrowed from English); mo∙naa∙dhȧ kȧ∙ran∙né = colloquial way of asking “what are you doing?”]
a∙dhȧ paa∙ti∙yak dhaa∙nȧ∙va∙dhȧ?
“Are your throwing/having a party today?”
[a∙dhȧ = “today”; paa∙ti∙yak = “a party” (borrowed from English); dhaa∙nȧ∙va∙dhȧ? = “(are you) putting?]
a∙pi∙tȧ ‘treat’ é∙kak ō∙né, hoňdhḗ?
“We want a (birthday) treat, okay?”
[a∙pi∙tȧ = “for us”; ‘treat’ é∙kak = “a treat” (word borrowed from English); ō∙né = “want”; hoňdhḗ? = “ok?”]
va∙yȧ∙sȧ∙tȧ gi∙yaa∙tȧ thaa∙mȧ kol∙la va∙gḗ (for a male)
va∙yȧ∙sȧ∙tȧ gi∙yaa∙tȧ thaa∙mȧ kél∙lȧ va∙gḗ (for a female)
“Even if you have aged, you’re still like a young man/woman”
[va∙yȧ∙sȧ∙tȧ gi∙yaa∙tȧ = “although (you) have aged”; o∙yaa = “you” (informal); thaa∙mȧ = “still”; kol∙la = “boy”; kél∙lȧ = “girl”; va∙gḗ = “like”]
I’ll leave you with one that I, at the age of 33, I still get from aunts back home:
dhæn baňdhi∙nȧ va∙yȧ∙sȧ ha∙ri, nḗ?
“Now is the right age to get married, isn’t it?”
[dhæn = “now”; baňdhi∙nȧ va∙yȧ∙sȧ = “marrying age” ha∙ri = “right/correct”; nḗ? = “isn’t it?”]
Sigh…Every damn year…
Edit: I got married a few years later. But not because my aunts told me to…
Is there any other special or unusual way you wanted to wish someone Happy Birthday in Sinhala? Put it in the comments below and I’ll try to translate it for you.