Feliz Cumpleaños and Felicidades
Up until now, I have always heard(and have always used, for
that matter) the phrase "Feliz cumpleaños" to say happy birthday. I recently discovered another way of saying "Happy Birthday," - "Felicidades." I had a few simple questions about this. Is one more proper than the other? For instance, would I say "Feliz cumpleaños" to a toddler, but "Felicidades" to someone older? Is one more common? I have never heard anybody use "felicidades," so I"m assuming that the former phrase is more common in American-Spanish. Is there a major difference between the two? I hope that makes sense! Thanks in advance for the help.
Feliz cumpleaños = Happy birthday
Felicidades = Congratulations
Though we wouldn't actually say "Congratulations" in English when finding out that it's someone's birthday, it would be a perfectly normal and polite thing to say in Spanish.
I hear "feliz cumpleaños" more and that is what I, personally, would be more likely to say but I think that either would be acceptable to anyone.
Feliz cumpleaños literally means Happy Birthday, and it's therefore more appropriate on a birthday, whereas Felicidades is more general and just means congratulations (appropriate for a wider range of occasions).
I agree with the others, but isn't it so amazing how language verbage differs (for all languages, in all countries)! I'm in San Antonio and here I hear ¡Felicidades! more often that ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! for birthdays.
In fact, I used to wonder the same thing as your question...only for the opposite reason!
Yes I have noted that greetings cards say felicidades, I often say enhorabuena to congratulate someone, is this in order as well?