"Many Happy Returns"???

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
1969 posts
Buzzing bee


I had always thought the phrase was connected with the astrological idea of the solar return, which was the way in which the “birthday” moment used to be marked, but apparently the phrase is much younger–early modern, perhaps–and is simply meant to mean “may you see this day (a/k/a your birthday) many more times, and live to be old.” 

And also: Happy birthday!  🙂

Post # 4
3828 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

it means “lets hope you return for your next birthday?”

or something like that. 

Just say thank you. 

Post # 5
42101 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@PurpleLibraSparkle:  “Thank you”

A Google search yields:



“Many happy returns” is a greeting which is used by some on birthdays, and by others in response to “Happy New Year”. The term itself refers to the passing year. Since the 18th century this has been used as a salutation to offer the hope that a happy day being marked would recur many more times. It is now primarily used, by some, on birthdays. Prior to the mid 19th century it was used more generally, at any celebratory or festive event. The phrase is more common in British English and Indian English than in American English.

Post # 6
1178 posts
Bumble bee

Happy birthday! Mine is tomorrow! It’s good to be a Libra 🙂

Post # 7
308 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

It’s a super common saying among people from India – “many happy returns of the day.” Just say thanks!

Post # 8
2675 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

I always remember that phrase from watching “Winnie the Pooh” when I was younger.  I think he would always say the same thing when wishing a Happy Birthday.

Hope you have a Happy Birthday!

Post # 9
6407 posts
Bee Keeper

It’s an old school well-wish. Many happy future birthdays to you!

Totally makes me think of Eeyore.

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