How Do You Say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian

How Do You Say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian?

Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

On their special day, it is always thoughtful to extend warm birthday wishes to someone, especially in a language that holds significance to them.

If the birthday celebrant comes from Hawaii, how do you say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian? Don’t worry, we got your back.  

2 Ways To Say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian 

2 Ways To Say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian 

1. Hauʻoli Lā Piha Makahiki

There are two ways to say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian, and one of them is Hauʻoli Lā Piha Makahiki. Hauʻoli Lā Piha Makahiki means “Happy Day Full Year,” wherein you congratulate the person on completing one full year of their life. 

The phrase “happy day full year” is used in Hawaiian to greet someone on their birthday because they complete another full year of life. 

2. Hau`oli Lā Hānau

Hawaiian cake

Another way to say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian is by greeting them Hauʻoli Lā Hānau. Hauʻoli Lā means a happy day of birth or happy birthday or happy anniversary. Hauʻoli is happy in Hawaiian, Lā means day, and Hānau is birth. When singing the happy birthday song, you can use Hauʻoli Lā Hānau, just like how you sing a happy birthday song in English. 

How Do You Pronounce Happy Birthday in Hawaiian? 

How Do You Pronounce Happy Birthday in Hawaiian? 

Hauʻoli Lā Piha Makahiki

The Hawaiian language is difficult to pronounce and understand by people who are not speaking Hawaiian or tried to live on the Hawaiian islands [1]. If you want to say Hauʻoli Lā Piha Makahiki, you can pronounce Hauʻoli as how-oh-lee, Lā Piha as lah-piha and Makahiki as mah-ka-hi-ki. 

When you read it fully, Happy birthday in the Hawaiian dictionary is pronounced as how-oh-lee lah-piha mah-ka-hi-ki. 

Hau`oli Lā Hānau

Hau`oli Lā Hānau

Hauʻoli Lā Hānau is the most common way to greet someone, and it is pronounced as how-oh-lee la hah-now. You may notice that the spelling includes an apostrophe which means a glottal stop. It also comes with a straight line above the letter, a kahako that indicates a long vowel sound.

How Do You Say “Happy Birthday My Friend” In Hawaiian? 

Friends are important people in our personal lives because they are like family (ohana) so on their special day, let’s not forget to greet them. If your friend is celebrating their birthday, you can say Hauʻoli Lā Hānau is pronounced as how-oh-lee la hah-now. 

In addition, accompanying your greeting with a Maui-made gift from Hawaii is a great idea. You can also say aloha nui loa (new ee low a), which means all my love. 

Related Posts:

How Hawaiians Celebrate Birthdays

How Hawaiians Celebrate Birthdays


Hawaiian people from Maui county have a different culture when celebrating birthdays than many families in the United States. On the child’s first birthday, they celebrate it with Lu’au, which is a traditional Hawaiian party with traditional music, entertainment, and food.

Because there has been high infant mortality in Hawaii, it is a huge milestone that the child got a year older. 



Lei is one of the Hawaiian birthday traditions where a flower garland is traditionally worn around the neck of the birthday celebrant. In addition, it is a common birthday gift from friends or family (ohana) so expect to receive one aside from birthday wishes. 

Traditional Greetings

If you are invited to a Hawaiian birthday party, you should know traditional greetings. It is not just aloha (hello and goodbye), a normal good morning (aloha kakahiaka), or good afternoon (Aloha ‘auinalā). 

It is customary to greet people with cheek kisses at a Hawaiian birthday party, even if it’s your first time meeting them. Make sure to take off your shoes too before entering someone’s home as a sign of respect. 


Is there a Hawaiian birthday song?

Yes, there is a Hawaiian birthday song, and you can sing it in the same character as with the English version. The phrase goes like ““Hau’oli la hanau ia ‘oe, Hau’oli la hanau ia ‘oe, Hau’oli la hanau ia *name*, Hau’oli la hanau ia ‘oe”

What’s the response when someone greets you happy birthday in Hawaiian?

Mahalo is your response when someone greets you happy birthday in Hawaiian. Mahalo means thank you, and if you are extra grateful, you can say “mahalo nui loa,” and it is pronounced as mah-hah-loh noo-ee lo-wa. 


There are different cultures and traditions customary when celebrating a birthday in Hawaii and other parts of the world. If your friend or family came from Hawaii, it would be a breath of fresh air to hear a word or language close to you on this special occasion. 

Say the phrase Hauʻoli Lā Hānau or Hauʻoli Lā Piha Makahiki if you want to say Happy Birthday in Hawaiian. 


Kimberlee Johnson
Follow me
Latest posts by Kimberlee Johnson (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *