Turning another year of life and vitality is a special blessing to cherish. Your Solar return, like birthdays are known in some cultures, can bring you mixed feelings and emotions.

Some people get upset about getting older, others get happy about being alive for another year, and for others, it is just a neutral event.

Either way, nothing compares to the joy one feels when being around friends, family, and acquaintances while they’re singing your birthday song. But there’s something unique about birthday songs, as with any cultural element, they vary from language to language.

In the Spanish-speaking world, there is one birthday song that stands out from the rest.

You may have heard of the traditional Cumpleaños Feliz. It’s short, simple, and easy to memorize. However, if you want to add a colorful twist to someone’s birthday song – and show off your Spanish skills – you can sing the longest birthday song in Spanish,  ¡Ay, qué noche tan preciosa!

This song, which can be awkward for some listeners, has beautiful lyrics that will make your special person feel loved.

The story of the longest birthday song in Spanish

¡Ay, qué noche tan preciosa! (What a precious night!) was written by Luis Cruz, a Venezuelan musician and songwriter, who also created the Cuarteto Los Naipes band. His inspiration to write this song came up around 1953. A friend’s girlfriend, Rebeca Sorondo, reached out to request him to write a birthday song.

Luis told her, “Well, I’m not an expert in that matter, but I recently started to write my songs. So, let me see if I think about something for your birthday.” And, before such a commitment, he developed the song in only two days.

Years later, the also Venezuelan singer Emilio Arvelo recorded this single as a filler in a record label production that was missing one song. To Emilio’s surprise, this was the only song that became a hit.

Additionally, the song immortalized Emilio Arvelo as the traditional voice to sing this “Happy Birthday” song and Luis Cruz as its emblematic author. The song had been recorded before by Cruz. However, Arvelo’s 1965 cha-cha-chá fusion with bolero cover was the recording that went mainstream.

¡Ay, qué noche tan preciosa! lyrics in Spanish and English

About the birthday party where this song premiered, Luis Cruz said, “I remember there was an old lady at the party who after hearing (the song) told me: “What a beautiful song, maybe it gets famous with time”; what I never imagined was that it would have such significance”.

And below you can see why.

The Lyrics in Spanish

¡Ay, qué noche tan preciosa!
es la noche de tu día,
todo lleno de alegría
en esta fecha natal.

Tus más íntimos amigos
esta noche te acompañan,
te saludan y desean
un mundo de felicidad.

Yo por mi parte deseo
lleno de luz este día,
todo lleno de alegría
en esta fecha natal.

Y que esta Luna plateada
brille su luz para ti,
y ruego a Dios porque pases
un cumpleaños feliz.

The Translated English Lyrics

What a precious night!
It’s the night of your day,
all full of joy
on this natal date.

Your closest friends
join you tonight,
they greet you and wish you
a world of happiness.

I, for one, wish
full of light this day,
all full of joy
on this natal date.

And may this silver Moon
shine its light for you,
and I pray God you have
a happy birthday.

The original version used to sing en esta edad primaveral (on this Spring Age) in the verses where you now find en esta fecha natal (on this natal date).

People often accompany this melody with the traditional Cumpleaños Feliz, but only as an intro at the beginning, or as a coda or outro at the end.

On the other hand, the versatility of the song allows your birthday guests to freely add their humorous touches, choruses, and verses. For example, some people sing:

Y que esta luna plateada (y oxidada) brille su luz para ti (para ti)

(And may this silver (and rusty) Moon shine its light for you (for you))

One popular alternative version is by Tambor Urbano “Un año más en tu vida”, which you may like more if you love Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

Another one is a version that suggests you bought diapers for the birthday boy or girl:

Y ruego a Dios porque pases
un cumpleaños feliz con los pañales que te di
que me costaron treinta mil con mi tarjeta Mercantil

And I pray to God you have
a happy birthday with the diapers I gave you
that cost me thirty thousand with my Mercantil (bank) card

It’s time to practice your Spanish singing!

We all have someone special we want to spoil on their birthday, so why not do something different that day?

At TruFluency, we help language and culture enthusiasts like you find an easier way to advance faster in their Spanish learning journey. So, take action and book a Spanish lessons with us to learn the fun and smart way.