You gather with friends and family, all huddled over the birthday cake as if it’s the last morsel of food on earth, and the only things on your mind are conjuring up a wish, blowing out the candles (however many there are of them!) and trying not to turn bright red as the crowd sings to you in one loud voice! One of the most enduring little ditties ever composed, “Happy Birthday To You” is among the world’s most famous songs, and we celebrate its humble beginnings every June 27th!
And to think a pair of sisters from Kentucky kicked the whole thing off back in 1893! Mildred J. Hill was a teacher in Louisville who was also an expert on what was then known as the “Negro spiritual,” and her sister, Dr. Patty Smith Hill, a professor emeritus of education at Columbia University, teamed up to create a little tune of humble origins but with very long-lasting effects!
The Hill sisters originally wrote the simplistic four-line tune (Mildred supplied the melody; Patty, the lyrics) as a little classroom ditty to welcome the children on each new day, which they titled “Good Morning To All.” (Try not to test out the song with those lyrics–you’ll never get it out of your head!)
The destined-for-history song, consisting of a mere 16 words, was first published in 1893, but it was not copyrighted until 1935. To honor the humble musical offerings of the Hill sisters, a special day is set aside each year–June 27 (the birthday of composer Mildred, who was born in 1859)–to commemorate the sweet little song that is such an integral aspect of birthdays celebrated everywhere!
The sisters never could have guessed, 118 years ago, that their modest little tune would now earn an estimated $2 million-plus every year in royalties! “Happy Birthday To You” is ranked as one of the three most popular songs in the English language, with the rousing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” and the sentimental New Year’s refrain “Auld Lang Syne” keeping the birthday ditty very good company, indeed!
But “Happy Birthday” isn’t just the domain of the English language! Far from it! The next time you find yourself facing yet another candle on that birthday cake, try saying “Happy Birthday” in any of the following languages:
* Chinese (Cantonese): “Sun Yat Fai Lok”
* Farsi: “Tavalodet Mobarak”
* French: “Joyeux Anniversaire”
* German: “Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag”
* Greek: “Chronia Pola”
* Hindi: “Janam Din Ki Badhai”
* Italian: “Buon Compleanno”
* Portuguese: “Feliz Aniversario”
* Spanish: “Feliz Cumpleanos”
However you say it, and however you celebrate, birthdays are here to stay, and so is the classic musical wish, “Happy Birthday To You”! Birthdays are a specialty of Party Fiesta Balloon Decor, whose designs make every birthday all the happier! From table centerpieces to bouquets to columns to arches to whatever your heart desires, let Party Fiesta make birthday-balloon magic for you!