Help?: Happy Birthday en français
It might seem like a very simple question, but how do you say Happy Birthday in French?
I have heard that the common ones are:
Bonne fête (which I think is used more in Quebec, so let's focus on the other two unless I'm mistaken)
Is there a difference (other than their literal translations)? Which would I write on/in a friend's birthday card?
Which is used most in Switzerland, if anyone happens to know that?
Thank you very much!
We do not say 'anniversaire de naissance' either. Since it is the person's 'anniversaire', it has to be the anniversary of their birthday, of course. If the person was born 300 years ago, though, we can celebrate 'le 300ème anniversaire de sa naissance'. In other words: we only use 'anniversaire de naissance' for dead people.
In general, we don't specify the age of the personne in french to wish him/her. Or otherwise, you add after "joyeux anniversaire", "Déjà 16 ans ! :) " (already 16 years old) or "16 ans déjà" (the same things) But if you want really say that like that, you can say "Joyeux 16e anniversaire" but it is a little strange. ^^
In addition to Lamicorne's very good answers, I will mention that the young generation often uses a shortened version of 'anniversaire', with no stable spelling: 'annive, anniv, annif' (I hate that one), and in general paired with 'Bon' because it is shorter than 'Joyeux', but the latter is also used. 'Anniv' and 'annif' are equally common; 'annive' not as much.
You will not get wrong with 'Joyeux anniversaire', though. But there are things you need to know, like 'à toute' (à tout à l'heure), 'bon ap' (bon appétit) and 'bon annif'.
EDIT: Lamicorne is now Kamorii.