42: Tanti Auguri! Birthday Traditions in Italy

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Podcast | 0 comments

Tanti auguri! Did you know this phrase can be used for everything, from birthdays, to Christmas, to births and baptisms? Today though, we’re going to explore  the birthday side of tanti auguri, by looking at birthday traditions in Italy. 

First up, in Italy, the one who is being celebrated is called the festeggiato or festeggiata.  And this is one who buys the birthday cake in Italia. Furthermore, it’s customary for the festeggiato also to cover the bill for drinks or dinner. In an office setting, often the birthday girl or boy themselves are the ones to go to the pasticceria in the morning and bring treats for the office. 

Which means that another tradition is, if you’re hosting a party (and paying for it) it’s expected that the guests will bring gifts. It would be very rude to show up to an Italian party empty handed.

But that said, you can forget one thing: don’t bother getting a birthday card. Giving a card with a gift really isn’t standard behavior so just a gift with a tag is just fine.

Lastly, yes, you can say, buon compleanno to someone for their birthday, but you can also just say, auguri or tanti auguri! And if you want to sing them a happy birthday, the song is sung to the same tune as happy birthday in the US, but it goes like this:

Tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri a ___insert name here___ tanti auguri a te!

Ciao for now ragazzi!


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Ciao, I'm Rachel

I am obsessed with everything Italian! After years living in Italy, being married to an Italian, getting my Italian citezenship through my Pugliese lineage, a BA in Italian language and literature, then a MA in Italian Art History, I have lots of experience with this country! Hang out with me to learn more!