Las Mañanitas Mexican Birthday Song Lyrics

The Mexican Birthday Song Lyrics and Translation

Generational family watching girl blowing out birthday candles
Edgardo Contreras / Getty Images

 

Las Mañanitas is a traditional song in Spanish that Mexicans sing to honor a loved one on their birthday or saint's day, and it is also sung on other important holidays, such as Mother's Day and the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. People may sing it as an early morning serenade to wake up a loved one - so if you're visiting Mexico and hear mariachis playing at the crack of dawn, you'll know it's someone's birthday.

At birthday parties, guests gather around the cake to sing before cutting the cake, as you would sing Happy Birthday To You (although it is quite a bit longer, so it's a good idea to have candles that will last through the song!).

The name of the composer of Las Mañanitas is not known. The Mexican composer Manuel M. Ponce (1882-1948) is occasionally credited as having composed it, although it probably pre-dates him. He does seem to have popularized a particular arrangement for the song. As a traditional song with a long history, there are multiple variations of the lyrics and a wide variety of different verses. At most Mexican parties you will usually only hear the first two verses sung, but in this translation, there are some additional verses that are occasionally included, particularly when the song is performed formally by mariachis.

Lyrics and a translation of Las Mañantias:

Estas son las mañanitas,
que cantaba el Rey David,
Hoy por ser día de tu santo,
te las cantamos a ti,
Despierta, mi bien*, despierta,
mira que ya amaneció,
Ya los pajarillos cantan,
la luna ya se metió.

Que linda está la mañana
en que vengo a saludarte,
Venimos todos con gusto
y placer a felicitarte,
Ya viene amaneciendo,
ya la luz del día nos dio,
Levántate de mañana,
mira que ya amaneció.

This is the morning song
that King David sang
Because today is your saint's day
we're singing it for you
Wake up, my dear*, wake up,
look it is already dawn
The birds are already singing
and the moon has set

How lovely is the morning
in which I come to greet you
We all came here with joy
and pleasure to congratulate you
The morning is coming now,
the sun is giving us its light
Get up in the morning,
look it is already dawn

* Often replaced with the name of the person who is being celebrated

Additional verses:

El día en que tu naciste 
nacieron todas las flores
En la pila del bautismo, 
cantaron los ruiseñores

Quisiera ser solecito 
para entrar por tu ventana
y darte los buenos días 
acostadita en tu cama

Quisiera ser un San Juan, 
quisiera ser un San Pedro
Para venirte a cantar
con la música del cielo

De las estrellas del cielo 
tengo que bajarte dos
una para saludarte 
y otra para decirte adiós

The day you were born
all the flowers were born
On the baptismal font
the nightingales sang

I would like to be the sunshine
to enter through your window
to wish you good morning
while you're lying in your bed

I would like to be a Saint John>
I would like to be a Saint Peter
To sing to you
with the music of heaven

Of the stars in the sky 
I have to lower two for you
One with which to greet you
and the other to wish you goodbye

Another very important element of a Mexican birthday party is the piñata, which although it was originally associated with Christmas celebrations, they are now an essential part of most any children's party (and some adult parties as well!). The piñata has an interesting origin and history, and there is also a special song for you to learn that accompanies the breaking of the piñata.

Besides birthday parties, Mexicans find other festive occasions throughout the year that are worthy of celebrating. If you would like to have a party that is Mexican in style, we have lots of tips and ideas for throwing a Cinco de Mayo fiesta that your guests will rave about for years. These can also be used to plan a Mexican-themed birthday party, just be sure you practice singing Las Mañanitas in advance so you'll know what to do when the candles on the cake are lit!