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How to Write ‘Happy Birthday’ with Chinese Calligraphy

    Chinese calligraphy is often used for celebrations. This includes birthdays, weddings, and festivals such as Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, and more.

    Let’s look at how you can write ‘happy birthday’ using Chinese calligraphy.

    Scroll down to the bottom to see the exact stroke order for writing it…

    What tools do you need for Chinese calligraphy?

    If you want to write ‘happy birthday‘ in Chinese using Chinese calligraphy, you’ll need at least the following two items:

    • A Chinese calligraphy brush
    • Chinese calligraphy ink
    • An ink stone (or somewhere to place the Chinese calligraphy ink for when you dip your brush tip into it)
    • A flat surface (i.e., a table)

    The surface you write on should be flat because the ink will run otherwise.

    What should you write Chinese calligraphy on?

    You’ll obviously need something to write on some kind of paper. This could be large paper if you’re going to hand the calligraphy up (as is often done in China). Or on smaller paper or card (if you’re going to write it in a birthday card, for example).

    If you’re going to write it on paper, any paper should be fine as long as it’s thick enough. If it is too thin (like a lot of notepaper is) the effect won’t look great. This is because Chinese ink is very thick and might run on thin paper and make it turn transparent.

    It’s ideal to buy good quality thick paper, and to even place some other paper (or newspaper) down below the paper you are writing the characters on.

    How do you write ‘Happy Birthday’ using Chinese Calligraphy?

    The first thing you need to know is how to hold a Chinese calligraphy brush (read this article to find out).

    Next, you need to decide whether you want to write the characters horizontally or vertically.

    Traditionally, Calligraphy is written vertically, just like classical Chinese was. However, in mainland China the language is now written horizontally for everyday life and for some calligraphy.

    Generally, it is most often written horizontally for big and formal occasions.

    Here is how ‘happy birthday’ looks horizontally:

    'Happy birthday' written with Chinese calligraphy horizontally
    ‘Happy birthday’ written with Chinese calligraphy horizontally

    And here is how it looks vertically:

    'Happy birthday' written with Chinese calligraphy horizontally
    ‘Happy birthday’ written with Chinese calligraphy vertically

    The stroke order for writing happy birthday with Chinese calligraphy

    Chinese characters need to be written in a specific order. This is true of everyday writing and especially true in Chinese calligraphy.

    If you don’t follow the correct stroke order, the characters will look strange. This will be especially true with calligraphy because anyone who looks closely at it will see the unnatural ways (/directions) the ink was put on the paper.

    When you write characters in Chinese calligraphy, you should not go back and correct them. If you make a mistake, leave it or start again. Correcting the characters will ruin the harmony of the whole, each strange shaped correction blot will stand out clearly amongst the correct brush strokes.

    Below is the stroke order for happy birthday in simplified Chinese characters. These are the characters used in Mainland China, i.e., the most commonly used version of them.

    Stroke order for writing 'happy birthday' in simplified Chinese
    How to write ‘happy birthday’ in Simplified Chinese characters