We always sing that song when it’s somebody’s birthday. ¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Everyone gathers around the table, the celebrated cumpleañero sits in the middle, front and center before the cake, as we all wait in the room with all the lights turned off except for the ones on the cake, for my father to take the lead vocals. We all fall in line singing along with him as soon as he starts.

Sometimes there’s a guitar. Most times though it’s acapella.

And as soon as we’re done with the Spanish version of happy birthday, an even louder chanting begins, with nieces and nephews joining in the celebrations too by singing the version they’re more familiar with, in English.

This is probably one of my most cherished family traditions. It’s just nice to do it together.

And what I love even more, seeing my older nieces and nephews singing along with us in Spanish.

Cumpleaños Feliz