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Celebrating your Birthday abroad - This is what you can expect!

10 January, 2023 by Photo from Nina Nina  ◦  567 views  ◦  3 minutes Reading time
Celebrating birthday abroad Ireland Cyprus Portugal Greece

Are you curious how you can celebrate your birthday abroad? Find out about birthday traditions in Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.

When you spend some time living and working abroad, the chances are high that you will also celebrate your birthday in a different country! But what does that mean? Do you have to bring a cake to work, will your colleagues sing for you or even surprise you with some crazy birthday traditions? Also, how should you behave when you are invited to a birthday of one of your friends or colleagues? Find out more in this blog!


In Portugal, birthdays are celebrated similar to most European countries. One thing to know is that it is really important that you can plan your birthday party only at or after your actual birthday, never before. It is very common to postpone the party to the weekend to make sure that your friends can attend and really are in the party mood. Also, most Portuguese have a sweet tooth which means that cake or pastries are an absolute must! 
To wish a Happy Birthday in Portuguese, you can say Feliz aniversário or more informal Parabéns. 

view of lisbon


In Cyprus, the birthday situation is a little different than in the rest of Europe. On this island in the eastern mediterranean sea, the name day is more important than the birthday! The name day is the saints feast day after which you were named. Not named after a saint? Not a problem, you can just celebrate your name day on the All Saints day (First of November). An always appreciated gift in Cyprus for either a name or birthday are flowers. The beautiful thing is that Cypriots do not only gift flowers to women, but to everyone, no matter the age or gender! If you are invited to a birthday party, you can use the following sayings: 


Happy birthday! — Χρόνια πολλά! (Khroniya pola!)

Live to a hundred years! — Να τα εκατοστήσεις! (na ta ekatostisis)

Wish you the very best! — Σου εύχομαι ό,τι καλύτερο! (sou efkhomeh oti calitero)


No matter which celebration and especially at Birthdays: The Irish head to the pub! There, you gather with family and friends to enjoy food, drinks, music and games. However, the Irish also have a popular but rather strange tradition: The bumping of the birthday person! Do not freak out if your friends grab you by your legs and (hopefully gently) turn you upside down and bump your head on the ground, the same number that you just turned that way. Hopefully that did not scare you off and you still consider living and working in Ireland! 

You can wish a Happy Birthday in Irish by saying Lá breithe or Breithlá.

temple bar in dublin


Just like in Cyprus, the name day is very or even more important than the birthday. Make sure to call your friends or colleagues to congratulate them. Fun fact: Even if you forget to wish a happy name day, don’t worry. It is totally acceptable for the next 39 days to congratulate. If it is your name day (or birthday), know that it is customary to pay for a round of drinks for your friends at the “Taverna”! Sounds good, right? Then check our vacancies in Greece and get ready to celebrate your name day! 

Some useful vocabularies: 
Happy birthday - χαρούμενα γενέθλια (Harumena yenethlia)

I wish for all your dreams to come true - Ό,τι επιθυμείς (Oh ti epith-ee-mis)


Our tip: Share some of your own birthday traditions with your colleagues! For instance, if you bring some cake to work on your birthday, surely nobody will complain. 


Sounds exciting, right? Check all our vacancies and maybe you will already celebrate your next birthday (or name day) in a different country! 

What do you think of this blog?

traditions living abroad


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