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Congratulations, greetings and wishes... what and when to say?!?

Grettings and congratulations in Portuguese

Hi! Hello! Good afternoon!  Good night! What’s up? How are you?... There are a lot of ways to greet someone. Of course, it depends on the context and with whom are you talking!  In Portuguese we have many of the same choices.  “Olá!”, “Bom dia... boa tarde... boa noite!”, “Tudo bem?”, “Como estás?”, “Que tal? Tens passado bem?”... and so on and so on!

It gets more intersting when we talk about congratulations. In English, depending on the situation, you may say “congratulations”, “happy aniversary” or “best wishes on your graduation.”  Similarly, in Portuguese, despite the fact that the most common word we use to say congratulations is “Parabéns”,  we often use different words, depending on the context. Take a look:


We use it for...



Muitos parabéns!


Parabéns por / pelo (s) / pela (s) ... !


A special life event, for example:

... a wedding or engagment:

    Parabéns! Que sejam muito felizes!

    (Congratulations! Wishes for a lot of hapiness!)


... an academic accomplishmentt:

    Parabéns por passares no exame!

    (Congratulations for passing the exam!)


... related to your professional life:

    Muitos parabéns pelo novo emprego!

    (Congratulations on your new job!)


... an anniversary:

    Parabéns!! Muitos anos de vida!!

    (Happy aniversary! Many years of life!)




Muitas felicidades... !


Votos de ...!


A very very special life event, like:

... a wedding or engagment:

    Felicidades! Votos de muito amor e paixão!

    (Congratulations! Wishing you a lot of love and passion!)


... welcoming a newborn:

    Felicidades ao bebé e à família!

    (Congratulations for the baby and to the family!)


... an achievement on your professional life:

    Muitas felicidades na sua nova carreira!

    (Congratulations on your new job!)


... in the business area:

    Votos de muito sucesso para o vosso negócio!

    (Best wishes for success and congratulations on your business!)

Feliz aniversário!


Like we said before, we can say just “Parabéns” but also “Feliz aniverário”. Both forms are correct and quite frequently used.


A curiosity: our birthday song actually uses the word “Parabéns”. Check it out and surprise your Portuguese friends or family




You can also give your best wishes in other situations using these Portuguese expressions:

Feliz Natal! (Merry Christmas)
Um Bom Ano or Feliz Ano Novo! (Happy New Year)
Uma santa Páscoa! (Have a holy Easter)
Boas festas! (Happy holidays)
Bom feriado! (Have a nice holiday)
As melhoras! (Get better)
Boa sorte! (Good luck)
Bom apetite! (Enjoy your meal)
Bom trabalho! (“Have a nice day at work” or “Good job”)
Bom fim de semana! (Have a nice weekend)
Bons sonhos! (Sweet dreams)

We hope this is useful! Now it’s all about practice practice practice! Boas aulas e boas conversas em português!